Saturday, 19 October 2013

[REVIEW] My Life After Now

"It gets a lot worse. That's the point. This healthy-feeling time now just feels like tease. Like I'm in this holding pattern, flying in smooth circles within sight of the airport, in super-comfortable first class. But I can't enjoy the in-flight movie or free chocolate chip cookies because I know that before the airport is able to make room for us, the plane is going to run out of fuel, and we're going to crash-land into a fiery, agonizing death." —Lucy Moore (page 148)

Title: My Life After Now
Author: Jessica Verdi
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Fire
Published: 2013
Number of Pages: 287
ISBN: 978-1-4022-7785-6
Price: $9.44 US | $11.24 SGD
I rate it 3.5/5 stars

Lucy Moore just had a mega-bad week ever in her life.

She lost her cast as Juliet at Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on her drama club at school. Elyse St. James, her rival since years ago, was the one who got the role. Instead, Lucy got Mercutio as her cast. That’s her first problem. Her next problem is her beautiful boyfriend, Ty, did affair with Elyse, since they were Romeo and Juliet at the drama. Ty dumped her for Elyse. And the last is her biological mother, Lisa, came for the third time in her amazing-life-with-her-two-gay-dads. What else she expected them to give this time? Full financial support? Seriously, even ‘Mom’ or ‘Mother’ was never been an appropriate word to call her.

Going mad about everything, she then went to this club with her best friends, Max and Courtney, as her rebound to everything that’s not working her way. That’s when she met a stranger. That’s when she couldn’t remember what she was doing with this stranger. Maybe they had sex, but she didn’t even know whether she used protection or not. The exact thing of all: her life has changed after that time. She’s no longer a healthy girl.

She was diagnosed with HIV.

Will I get AIDS? Will I die? Will my dads hate me? Will my friends abandon me? Will I ever be able to have sex again? Will I ever be able to have a baby? Will I ever be able to be on Broadway? Will I have to go on medication? Will anyone ever love me? (page 78)

Diagnosed with cancer? It’s common theme of book. Diagnosed with HIV? That’s rare. And this book is one of the-rare. That’s why I want to give this book a try. I've been interested since the first time I read the blurb and without any discussion with my oh-not-so-busy-mind, I POed this book.

Reading this book brought me to a lot of emotions: firstly annoyed with Lucy’s thought of perfection/egoism, amazed when I found that she has two dads (reminded me of Rachel Berry on Glee), felt sympathy toward her when I heard that kind of virus starts living in her cells, sad as I watched her love rejects her, and broken-heart when I ‘saw’ that freak doctor treats her that way (seriously, she’s a person, not a thing or garbage!). And I found myself in teary eyes (not did that shame thing called crying) whenever I read some conversations in this book.

And then, as if in slow motion, he looked at my hand gripped around his bare forearm, my skin against his, and he jerk away from my touch. He was frightened of me. My insides felt like they were being ripped apart by steel claws. (page 101)

Lucy’s character is a selfish girl that all she wants should come true, no matter what (yes, she reminds me a lot of this Broadway obsessed girl called Rachel Berry). She’s lack of self-control that she always did things she thought that’s the right thing to do. Until she does a mistake which caused something that would linger in her life forever, her medical issues as person with HIV. At first, her uncontrollable emotion annoyed me since her reactions toward everything-is-not-going-her-way kicks her right in her face. But after she diagnoses with HIV and her life turns upside-down, I can’t help feeling this kind of sympathy, I understand her feelings although I’m not a hundred percent agree with what she does after. She’s full of flaws, and somehow her flaws make her character looked so real. What she has done could possibly be happened to any girl in New York or wherever-land.

Talking about her two dads, who are all gay, it’s not a big deal for me (in this book). I’ve seen some of gay couples show-off their relationship in public, and it’s neither bothered me or got me feel happy for them. I was just so-so. But, this gay couple in My Life After Now, they’re completely awesome parents. They love Lucy no matter what happen to her. One of the Best Family in Book in my version!

Unfortunately, the other characters look so vague. I like Evan Davis, for sure. Though he’s such a jerk at first. The other gay, Max (I imagined him like Kurt Hummel from Glee—again) and another best friend of Lucy, Courtney, are my favorites, too. I thought there would be so much about them, but I was wrong. They were not shown up in the story that much. Maybe because it focused only on Lucy and her stuffs.

In addition, I felt like Lucy’s life and her school life have a massive distance. One time I was with Lucy in support group or so and the next time I forgot that she had a life in her school. I don’t know if it’s because of Jessica’s writing or she’s really intended to make that distance between Lucy and people around her.

Besides the HIV thing and her treatment and her don’t-tell-anyone words, I can’t see the real climax of this book. But it doesn’t stop me from turning the next page till the end. There’s something in Jessica’s writing that makes me unable to move my eyes from her every lines in My Life After Now. Moreover, I want to know more what Lucy will do, when she finally be able to tell anyone about her sickness, and how her family and her friends will react when they finally figure out what the hell is happening to Lucy. And most of all, I want to figure out how the patient with HIV will face his/her life.

There's still one thing that matters when I read this book. As you know, this book takes Shakespeare drama as one of its setting, and of course there will be some words, Shakespearean words, that I hardly understand. Well, maybe you think it's not a big deal.. but for me, unable to understand even a word is really disturbing. I think it would be better if those words here translated into common English as footnote or so. So then people with lack of Shakespearean words understanding like me would understand.

If you’re so eager with a book in HIV theme, then I recommend this book to you. My Life After Now is a book about the girl who suffered from HIV. It would indirectly open your insight about what the person with HIV feels. About what we suppose to do to them: should we look at them with condescending gaze and never wanna have a contact with them, even if it just a little touch? *reading this book seriously add my knowledge about HIV and so*

This book is not superb, but it’s good and full of lesson. You should give it a try yourself. :)

"You talk to her for two minutes, get her side of the story, and then decide whether she's worth your time or not. But by spending all your energy avoiding her and wondering why she's here, you're not being fair to yourself." —Evan Davis (page 46) 
Positive. It was as if the word was some sort of incantation, and now that it had been uttered, a spell had been cast. It had sucked all the reason, hope, and life out of me, and all I'd been left with was a hollow shell of a body and a brain that wouldn't work. (page 74) 
If I told my family and my friends the truth, everything would change. They would look at me differently, treat me differently. Of course they would—I was different. (page 80)

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