"And I want to tell you about everything but I can't because I couldn't stand for you to have that look on your face all the time. I just need you to look at me and think that I'm normal. I just really need that from you."
Finally a book that emphasizes the point and makes it so clear you can't hide. Mental illness is terrible. Terrible for all persons involved. Suicide is terrible. Terrible for all persons involved. Because both of these involve people around them; there's simply no running or hiding from them. Hold Still makes a perfect example of this.
Ingrid escaped her life, leaving her best friend Caitlin behind to live. After leaving for the summer, Caitlin returns home with her family. Here she has to face everyone who knew Ingrid, and even those who didn't. Caitlin must learn how to navigate through family, friends, and school in the aftermath of Ingrid's suicide. For once, this is portrayed perfectly, unlike so many other stories (at least among those I've read recently). I won't say I understand Ingrid with her depression, but I do understand the notion of being depressed for no obvious reason since I've been there myself.
"The whole story is: I am sad. I am sad all the time and the sadness is so heavy that I can't get away from it. Not ever."
What Hold Still does so well is the haunting presence of Ingrid. She's never in the novel in a physical sense, but still so prominent in every action and emotion Caitlin goes through. It's not just the presence of Ingrid though, it's the way each character is given life, big part of the story or not. They're all so fleshed out and real. As said, suicide touches all people close despite if the person committing knew them or not. Especially in a small town where everyone can name the passing person on the street. That makesHold Still so great. It creates the atmosphere of a whole town being affected by a single person.
Caitlin's transformation from right after Ingrid's suicide to her processing the fact, to Caitlin coming to terms with it is spot on. She's a wonderful character to follow, and the author truly made her come alive with her prose. The writing is simply stunning and engaging. There's something so genuine about this whole story that touches every part of me. These characters will for sure stay with me for a long time.
“You might be looking for reasons but there are no reasons.”