Monday, December 17, 2012

Review- 34 Pieces Of You by Carmen Rodrigues

Goodreads Summary:

A dark and moving novel—reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why—about the mystery surrounding a teenage girl’s fatal overdose.

There was something about Ellie... Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are 34 clues she left behind. 34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. 34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along....


I was in the mood to read something depressing and disturbing and 34 Pieces Of You seemed to be the perfect choice, but this book took disturbing to a whole new level altogether. I love the book title and cover, but I'm afraid I'll have to say that that's where my like for the book ends. 
34 Pieces Of You is told from the points of view of three people directly in relation with Ellie, who dies because of a drug overdose, suicide or otherwise. Ellie's brother Jake, her best friend and neighbour, Sarah and Sarah's sister, Jesse write about their own experiences with Ellie and how each one is trying to digest the news of her death and move on. I found it very hard to relate to either of the characters. Their thoughts seemed confused and their behaviour, unwarranted. They were all disturbed in a way I couldn't quite comprehend. I thought they just made themselves feel unwanted and depressed when they definitely could have been more content and positive. 
Jake did appear to be doing his best to make things right. But it was such a shame that he couldn't prioritize his duties as a student and as a family member. Sarah and Jesse's family was a riot. I really liked reading about their parents and sisters. They seemed to be a normal family. Both Sarah and Jesse would have been very likable characters had Ellie not turned their world (along with hers) upside down.  
Ellie leaves 34 pieces in the form of notes in a box under her bed, to help her closed ones figure out her situation. This is where I thought she could have just spoken to someone she knew and trusted instead of bottling up her feelings, which were what, I have no idea. It was obvious that she was sexually abused and was doing drugs and had  relationship issues, but that just wasn't enough for me to sympathise with her. Sadly, I still haven't figured out why she was so keen on killing herself when people were banging on her door to let them in and speak about her problems. 
I know and understand that this is a perfect example of the Contemporary society, where it is difficult to open up and it just seems better to keep the mountain of problems building inside oneself, but I just could not relate to anything in the book. I must admit that author Carmen Rodrigues' writing style has a sort of stunning flow that makes you want to get to know the characters better. 
Though it is a different and fresh concept, the whole idea of 34 Pieces Of You seemed a little abstract and vague to me. But that's just my opinion. I know there are many people who loved this novel, and I respect that. It's just that when I thought I was up for disturbing, I had no clue this read would be so disturbing. A short read, it really won't hurt to give the book a try if you're up for a confusing and depressing ride. I wanted to like this book, but I hate to say that I didn't. It didn't do anything for me, but you might like it. You never know, right? 


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  1. Great review! Too bad you couldn't relate to the characters. I'd wonder how they went over the edge despite the social support they got as well.

    1. Exactly, I was wondering the same throughout! Thanks for stopping by, Pooja! :)

  2. It's a pity you couldn't connect with the characters. I hate when that happens but nonetheless great review!

    1. I know, it does suck big time! Thanks for stopping by, Erin! :)


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