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Fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year's Day to find himself in the hospital. Make that the psychiatric ward. With the nut jobs. Clearly, this is all a huge mistake. Forget about the bandages on his wrists and the notes on his chart. Forget about his problems with his best friend, Allie, and her boyfriend, Burke. Jeff's perfectly fine, perfectly normal, not like the other kids in the hospital with him. Now they've got problems. But a funny thing happens as his 45-day sentence drags on: the crazies start to seem less crazy.
Compelling, witty, and refreshingly real, Suicide Notes is a darkly humorous novel from award-winning author Michael Thomas Ford that examines that fuzzy line between "normal" and the rest of us.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Leslie H. Nicoll on 03-21-10
Entertaining narrative for a serious subject
This story is written as a diary, with each chapter being one day in fifteen year old Jeff's 45 day hospitalization after a failed suicide attempt. The subject is serious, but Jeff is a great narrator: funny, sarcastic, and insightful. Youth suicide is an important problem in the US (third leading cause of death among people ages 15-19) and this book provides useful information while at the same time telling a good story. Resources for depression and suicide are included in an afterword. This book works well in audio format because the chapters are very short (5-10 minutes each) and can be listened to easily in short bursts. Recommended.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Maja (The Nocturnal Library) on 05-12-15
After an attempted suicide, Jeff wakes up in a psychiatric ward where he is forced to spend the next 45 days. He doesn’t want to and he’s determined not to cooperate, but his stay isn’t optional and his parents refuse to take him home. Finding their son almost bloodless in a bathtub isn’t something they particularly want to relive, and if the psych ward is what it takes to keep him alive, that’s where he’ll stay for as long as it takes.
Jeff handles his situation with lots of denial wrapped in good humor. He absolutely refuses to acknowledge that he has a problem and he is determined not to talk about his reasons for cutting his wrists open. According to him, his parents and the doctor made a mistake and he shouldn’t be locked up with the crazies.
Jeff’s story is heartwarming and poignant, but it’s also simple and laugh-out-loud funny. This diary-like narrative is one of the most honest things I’ve ever read. There are no heroes, no villains, no Big Drama whatsoever. It’s just a story about a boy that could easily be your next door neighbor or your second cousin. It’s not unusual at all and that’s what makes it so special.
Jeff’s character was truly done brilliantly. He is easily relatable, even (or especially) when he’s being obnoxious to his doctors and his fellow patience. Avoidance is his way to handle everything, but every now and again, a real feeling shines trough, be it anger at his parents for daring to save his life, resentment towards his doctors and nurses and the complete and utter hopelessness he feels about his situation.
I want to make this very clear: Suicide Notes is a book that deals with serious issues, but it’s rarely a sad read and it’s never angsty. Jeff’s sarcastic voice determines the overall tone, which is more funny than anything else. Yet Ford still manages to bring his point across by making every one of Jeff’s jokes louder and more touching than any sorrowful moment could possibly be.
I’ve tried this in both formats and while I generally prefer audio, in this case I’d strongly recommend the printed word. Although he’s a good narrator, Joe Caron didn’t succeed in capturing Jeff’s unique voice and most of Jeff’s sarcastic remarks somehow fell flat in the narrator’s interpretation.
If I had my way (but really, I never do), every thirteen-year-old on the planet would have to read three books: Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff, Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz and Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford. These three books promote understanding and tolerance in such a quiet, unobtrusive way, and even though we’re seeing more and more diversity, these are the three that always stay with me.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Anonymous User on 07-10-18
This is one of my favourite books!
I have listened to this book at least twelve times, even when I haven’t read this book in a while I still think about it and laugh at the weird things that happen.
By Oscar on 10-04-16
It made me think, feel, love and cry.
Honestly an awesome book! Thank you, Author