Paul Hamilton's Reviews > Remember Me

Remember Me by Christopher Pike
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's review
Jul 15, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: mystery, novel, young-adult
Read in July, 2010

Continuing my foray into Christopher Pike's young adult novels so beloved by my wife, I picked up Remember Me because the back cover copy sounded intriguing. The premise of the story is that it is told from the perspective of Shari Cooper, an eighteen year-old who is dead and wanders the world as a ghost, following the friends she left behind, her family and the world-weary detective assigned to her case who doesn't seem to believe she actually committed suicide.

Remember Me is fabulously paced; unlike Final Friends there aren't any wasted scenes here. Shari comes through as a flawed but likable protagonist and though his introduction is brief and somewhat awkward, Peter, Shari's deceased friend from earlier in high school and guide to her afterlife, eventually becomes a likable character as well.

It struck me that some of the conceptual topics that come up are fairly heady dealing as the book does with life after death, but Pike manages to skirt them with a minimalism that works to the story's favor. The book is, I suppose by its nature, very melancholy at times although it's nearly always deftly handled and manages to even be somewhat moving in places.

What holds the book back from greatness are two principal elements: One is that the marquee sequence in the book seems to be the part where Shari wakes up after the accident in her bed and goes downstairs to breakfast, not realizing she's dead or incorporeal. Her family naturally ignores her and she has to watch and listen as they receive the call from the hospital, share the bad news with each other, visit the morgue to identify the body and begin their grieving process. It's supposed to be a highlight sequence but because there's been so much exposition leading up to this point, we can't share in Shari's confusion and growing horror since we know already what has happened and that deflates what could have been a powerful opening sequence.

The other thing is that the ending, while satisfying on some level, is shamefully overwrought with practically every writer's tool and contrivance tossed in all at once to create what still amounts to a flimsy motive for Shari's untimely death. Even the epilogue that tries to ground the story with a twist—maybe intended to be chilling, maybe not—is unnecessary. It's not a bad conclusion by any stretch, but you can see how hard it tries to package everything up and that's kind of a turn-off.
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