Lanie Malone's Reviews > No Alternative

No Alternative by William Dickerson
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Jun 09, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-star-reads, reviewed
Read from June 01 to 08, 2012

From the first sentence, to the very last, this book pulled at a part of me that has long been buried and forgotten. It is an incredibly powerful narrative on teen suicide in the 90’s, a time when suicide was reaching nearly epidemic proportions for Generation X. I don’t know if anyone my age, anywhere in the country, made it out of high school without knowing at least one person (however loose the association may have been) who committed suicide. Personally, at 32 years old, I have still attended more funerals for suicides than all other causes of death combined. Some of them were mere acquaintances, some of them were so much more, and the impact their deaths had on me is something that I still carry with me today, for better or for worse.

If you’re looking for a sweet, fluffy, wholesome read…look elsewhere.
This is book is deep.

On to the more technical type stuff:

Characters: I have to say that Jeremy, was hands down my favorite, despite his seemingly small role. His part near the end is, absolutely, the most critical for the future. I know I’m being cryptic, but if you read the book you’ll understand. I refuse to give anything away though.

I loved Bridget as well. She is incredibly bold in her craziness, but then I don’t think that she really is crazy, not in a clinical sense. To me, she is just misunderstood.

Thomas, I don’t even know what to say about, really. The way his thought processes are written, they feel so authentic and so real. It was like taking a walk inside the mind of a teenage boy…as scary as that sounds.

Jackie, while not the most likeable chick in the world is also a very believable character. I felt that her motivations were very realistic. We often wonder why a character does whatever it is that they do, but in this case, the reasoning behind her behavior makes perfect sense in the way that only the teenage brain can make something so stupid make sense. Did that make sense? Again, I know I’m being very vague, but I really hate throwing out spoilers.

Plot: No Alternative has an excellent plot that reads very much like your average teenage drama, but with the wisdom, humor, and insight that can only be achieved by someone with greater analytical prowess than my own. Jackie isn’t the only character whose motivations are clear and genuine, everything and everyone in the book behaves pretty much the way you would expect from a teen, but unlike when we were actually in that age range, we get to see WHY they act that way. Being able to, not only see, but recreate those behaviors in such an authentic fashion is brilliant. It is like a behind the scenes look at the inner working of the teenage psyche.

About halfway through this book I realized something; I enjoyed the writing style so much, that I really didn’t care how it was going to end. The end could have been horrible, and I would have still felt the book was worth reading. It is gritty. It is real. It is horribly depressing, and yet oddly uplifting, in its accurate depiction of life.

There was only one thing that left me really at a loss; the suicide. But then I suppose that question is all part of the point. Whenever anyone commits suicide, the first question is always, “why?” There is never a clear answer, and after reading this I can only come to the same conclusion that I came to in high school; you’ll never know why. The person committing suicide probably couldn’t give you a clearly defined answer themselves. It is easy to sit on the sidelines, look at your accumulated knowledge of a person and their life and say, “But he had so much going for him, why would he throw it all away?” It is impossible to ‘put yourself in someone’s shoes’ to the point where you could ever really understand what would motivate them to take their own life. To quote directly from the book, “At the most basic level, I think the real answer to the question was ejected from my brain the second I put a hole through it.”

Some things are simply beyond words, and beyond understanding.
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Alana ~ The Book Pimp Oh goodie! If you like it, that says alot to me! I was looking at this one.


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