Tuesday, February 17, 2015

'My Heart and Other Black Holes' by Jasmine Warga


Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner. 

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

The premise was truly interesting. Two people that form a connection after meeting up and deciding to be Suicide Partners. You don't get they every day. 
It was interesting how it was executed. We have these two teenagers who both hate themselves and want to die coming together and meeting in real life after agreeing to die together. (Are there places for Suicide Partners? Not that I'm suicidal. It's just curiosity.) They slowly and steadily form a bond. Even if Roman doesn't want it. (And even if the black slug within Aysel denies her simple pleasures.) This story was good for giving you precisely what it offered. We were offered a story about Aysel the daughter of a murderer and FrozenRobot aka Roman. Both depressed. Both have self-loathing. That combination makes them suicidal. (I'm not implying all suicidal people are depressed.) 
The premise is well-executed. I'm given what I wanted. 

I liked how Aysel ended up accepting her father and her past. She had to, of course, to accept herself. She had to accept her father. She had to realize that what happened with your parents or grandparents doesn't affect you. There is correlation between being the son or daughter of someone with mental health issues and having said mental health issues yourself. But that does not mean you are forced to be that person. You aren't. She seemed like a perfectly nice girl. Smart and funny. Even though she was depressed, she did make some amazing jokes. Which is good. Even if it was just with Roman. She at least made jokes. 
I also...wanted to see her father. Or read her seeing her father. She had this love-hate relationship with him. And she didn't ever get a goodbye. Or anything. She was left out in the open. Out in the cold. She didn't get anything from him. She didn't get a chance to talk. They were separated. And that's that. I wanted to see how she would react to her father. What she would say. And do. I know that telling her mother she's 'sad' is one thing. But telling her father she loves him? And seeing him? I was patiently waiting for this reunion. And it didn't happen. This is a minor letdown. But I can ignore it for the most part. 

Roman was an interesting character. He did seen quite fine. But 'seem' isn't 'is'. Many people seem fine when you know they aren't. He had a good backstory. I didn't like the blame he forced on himself. But it was a good motivator to hate himself. Or...Before Roman at least.
He's quite kind actually. He cares for people. I know that's odd to say about someone who intends to kill himself. But...Roman knew about Aysel's father. Never said a word. He kept it all hush hush. He didn't try to be someone else around her. He wasn't scared of her. He was just Roman. We need more accepting people like Roman. 
I'm still confused about his username. FrozenRobot? I would have thought CaptianNemo or something Jules Verne-ish. 

The relationship isn't bad. I don't typically like them. Them being relationships. I guess I'm becoming a mush. But the way Aysel falls for Roman...I guess it just pulls at my heartstrings. She slowly falls for him. It's not rushed. It's not quick. It's a slow falling. And she's trying to avoid it. I know I'm getting mushy. But this isn't a bad relationship. I wish they had built more. But being Suicide Partners doesn't give you so much wiggle room in the crush department. I do have a problem, though.
Why him? What's so great about Roman? I know he's a chill dude. But...why? Seriously. Explain. Is it his acceptance of her past? 

The ending wasn't the best. It was rushed at the end. It seemed to push past the buildup it had. And Roman seemed to just...give in to Aysel. For someone so determined to kill himself, he sure did seen quick to become slightly better. I expected more resistance. Or something. I dunno. 
It also felt like the suicide attempt was a curveball just thrown at us. I know Aysel's a flake. And I know Roman probably saw that. But still. I feel like that was such an unexpected yet expected event... I'm not sure exactly what to think. Just that I don't like it. At all. 

And Aysel was supposed to be a physics nerd. She didn't seem too nerdy to me. She didn't mention physics too much. I wanted more. Some equations? Some spiel? I don't know. We only get some physics. Well. I wanted much much more. Maybe her calculations? Or her thought process? I don't know. There was a promise of a physics nerd. We got less nerd and physics than I expected. That was a disappointment. It was promised in the premise after all.

I know this book dealt with heavy issues. Suicide is a rising pandemic, consider it that way. It's serious. A major killer. But I felt like this book wasn't the best at showing the emptiness and pain. I feel like it could have been better. 

Cloudy with a 10% chance of rain

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