May 15, 2018

What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
This was definitely a unique and interesting read. Told in 100 chapters with 100 words each, What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee is a breath of fresh air in a sea of similarity. Small and mighty, this story, although short, packs a powerful punch. I do want to place a trigger warning on this book for rape and suicide before I jump into the review.

This story follows Will, a teenage boy who loves to walk. After his father's suicide, he started walking and hasn't stopped since. He walks to work through problems, to think about things, and to observe. He walks to his job at Dollar Only, and he walks to deliver presents to friends and neighbors. Will is very observant, and this story reveals his thoughts about things ranging from his boss to his family to the little boy down the street that waits for butterflies. When his childhood friend Playa is raped, Will walks to work though his feelings, deciding to deliver presents to her every day to cheer her up, and he walks to think though his father's suicide. Throughout the story, Will is also set on replicating his father's perfect cornbread recipe, but learns at the end that it was never really about the cornbread at all.

I really like the way this story was told, because although it was a short and fast read, the message of positive thinking was powerful and important. Will is such a kind character, always thinking of others. Considering everything Will has been through, I admire his positivity and his desire to cheer up those around him. I love the way that Will references music and song lyrics (especially Bowie!), and how he holds fast and true to the sayings his father left him with, no matter how cliché they may be.

Reading this, I felt an overwhelming desire to be more positive, to look on the bright side, and to appreciate everything around me. Will could have easily sunken into himself, but he instead focused on observing the beauty and people around him and appreciating them any way he knew how.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing for sending me a finished copy of this read! What I Leave Behind by Alison McGhee releases TODAY, May 15th, so be sure to pick up a copy!

10 comments:

Jo Linsdell said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Not sure if it's one I'd enjoy but I love the message of positivity.

Kiss Like a Girl said...

This sounds like an important read! It's not something I'd typically consider but I do actually like the sounds of it and since it looks pretty short, I might give it a shot.

DJ Sakata said...

I like insightful and thoughtful books like this

A Lady Lawyer said...

Sounds wonderful. Just the kind of pick-me-up reading one needs.

Nikki Saturday Nite Reader said...

I need to read this! Great review, added to my TBR!

Bentley BookBastion said...

This sounds like a really lovely contemporary YA read. Great review, Mandi!

Bookworms Corner said...

Not sure this is one for me but fabulous review.

Katiria Rodriguez said...

Aww wow great review, this book looks and sounds like a very powerful and beautiful book and I might need to check it out I just love books that have positivity in the concepts in books. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post and for putting this book on my radar.

Tavleen Kaur said...

This book sounds great! Definitely gonna read it sometime. Great review!

Anky's Book Bubble said...

I agree! What I Leave Behind was a fresh and unique read!