First, I just want to take a moment and thank Tijan from the bottom of my heart for dealing with suicide, a heart wrenchingly serious topic, with compassion and tact. Before I started reading, I promised myself that if the book talked about how the poor girl was “in a better place now,” “not suffering anymore,” or said “everything happens for a reason,” I would stop reading it. That seems to be where people jump with faced with death, whatever the cause and it bothers me more than it should. I am so relieved Tijan didn’t do that.
I have read several books from this author she has an ability to address very difficult, very serious issues in a way that doesn’t trivialize them. The past is the best predictor of the future, yet for some reason I was still worried. There was no reason to be. The sisters suicide was dealt with beautifully and depicted more realistically than I ever imagined a book could.
Mac was able to experience all the stages of grief; good, bad, and ugly. Tijan allowed the character to grieve in front of the reader and be incredibly vulnerable and I’m sure that wasn’t easy to do. From feeling like her sister is still with her, to breaking down, to feeling like she can’t do it on her own, Mac experienced it all. It wasn’t pretty, sometimes I cringed on her behalf but through it all she had this amazing inner strength.
I don’t even know where to start with Ryan. He was there to support Mac as much as she would let him, he validated her feelings and never pushed her to ‘get over it.’ Which I guess brings me to my one little issue with this book. Ryan is 18 years old and although he’s experienced his own loss, he handled everything a bit too perfectly. The brains of 18-year-old boys are wired to think in terms of how can I fix the problem and I didn’t see that at all from him. I guess what I’m getting at is I would have liked a little more tension between the two of them. With that said there was plenty of tension elsewhere in the book.
I’ve never wanted to see a book turned into a movie before, we all know what happens when they do that. But the scene where Mac found Willow, it was so hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking and tragic all at the same time. I kept replaying it over and over in my mind. Even now, a couple days after reading the book, I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forget it, but I’m so glad the author included it because it was brutally honest. Noone talks about what happens when you find a loved one dead. Pop culture would have you believe you cry and scream a bit, real life isn’t so cut and dry. People do strange things when they’re in shock and this book described it so well.
Anyway, enough I’m sure you all get the picture. Ryan’s bed is an amazing book from an amazing author. I can’t praise it enough. Everyone should read it. But, make sure you have cute kitten videos ready to cheer you up once you’re done. You’re going to need them once you finish the book. I don’t even have words for the end. It was just wow!