Heather's Reviews > This Song Will Save Your Life

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2014

This is book for anyone who had less than stellar high school experience. I for one despised high school. In fact, I hated school from first grade on. This was is no way due to the required learning. That part I loved. It was the evil little turds known as my class mates that made school so miserable. To this day I can’t pin point why I was the target of so much ridicule. I wasn’t the prettiest, or the most unfortunate looking. I wasn’t rich, but wasn’t dirt poor either so it’s not as though I had the best or worst clothing (which is sadly a driver to fitting in). I was athletic and I was intelligent, but I hardly boasted about either and it wasn’t as though several others couldn’t say the same. The only discernable difference I can ever recall having is that I was “mature” for my age and cared way too much about the opionions of others. This combo may have made me an odd child. Regardless, school was a horror. I often cried myself to sleep and dreaded having to attend school each day. The impending doom would make my stomach clench and the sense of dread didn’t ease until I arrived home each afternoon. In grade school, the girls would exclude me, whisper about me, tell troubled boys I liked them, would pretend to befriend me, only to embarrass me on the playground, and while the boys would gladly allow me to join in on a game of kickball, they would hardly defend me, or invite me to be a part of their inner circle. I spent lunch alone, and class time withdrawn. As I grew, the ridicule evolved. By middle school, I continued to be ignored, yet gossiped about by the girls, but my relationship with the boys changed. They started noticing I had boobs, and curves in places that some of my female classmates did not. They stopped allowing me to find solace in recess kickball, and instead opted for trying to lure me under the bleachers to make out. While I refused, it didn’t prevent them from telling others that I hadn’t, only adding fuel to the fire. By the time high school rolled around, I had a reputation for being “easy” even though I had only kissed one boy and he went to an entirely different school and was known by no one in my school district. I couldn’t trust anyone enough to bother with befriending them. Past experiences with girls made me believe that any female who was nice to me for more than a few seconds was just trying to get me to let my guard down long enough to make people believe whatever dirt she intended to invent and spread about me, and guys assumed I was an easy lay, so after accepting two dates with two different guys who only wanted to suggest parking at a local boat access as our date, I began turning down the attentions of any guy who bothered to show an interest. Needless to say, school was lonely, and I was miserable. So it probably goes without saying that I related to Elise and her story. I could understand how she felt before her attempted suicide because I felt that way myself. Sad, angry, hopeful that something miraculous would happen to turn everything all around or that if I said or did the “right” thing, I could turn it all around for myself. Praying to meet one person who bothered to look past all the untruths being said about me and attempt to get to know me for whom I was, and like me. That didn't happen for me until senior year, and it required an event that I'm not going to recount here to transpire in order to make it possible. So, I understood why Elise did what she did when she realized it wouldn't happen for her either. And while I personally didn’t resort to an attempted suicide as a possible escape (my coping mechanism took shape in the form of bulimia), I can more than sympathize with a need, dare I say necessity, for an outlet.

It’s hard to describe my reading experience of This Song Will Save Your Life. It brought back feelings and memories I never really cared to revisit. But there was a comfort that came from reading it as well because I can’t imagine that anyone could write about such a wretched school experience if they themselves hadn’t suffered the same thing, and for any of you out there that may have also been taunted and teased in such a way, you know the kind of hope and comradery that can form among fellow misfits. This book is so unabashedly honest in the truths it unveils. That telling someone doesn't help, in fact, it is often more harmful than not, and the only respite comes at the end of the day when you can leave your classmates behind for a few waking hours. I’m so so glad that Leila Sales had the courage to write such a book and I hope that those who are suffering from miserable school experiences read this and feel a little less alone. I promise you, it gets better, but I’ll be honest, it requires graduating. A song, or talent for music, doesn’t always save a life, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many endless hours I spent listening to music. It was an extreme comfort to me then, as were books, and continues to be to this day. I could say more about This Song Will Save Your Life, however, I’ve rambled on long enough. Just know that this book is a gem, and I am thankful to have read it.
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Reading Progress

February 12, 2014 – Shelved
February 12, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
March 10, 2014 – Finished Reading
March 18, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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Abigail What a review- thank you for sharing that personal history Heather. Ironically, the part of the book I found most unbelievable was the fact that Elise had no friends- when I was in high school, even though I felt desperately lonely a *lot* of the time, I always had friends and wasn't actually alone. I found it hard to imagine any girl could be completely friendless- in my (all-girls) school no one was always by themselves- everyone had at least a small group of people they hung out with.


naatalyh242gmail.com Awesome book


Heather I assure its possible Abigail...at least it was in my school. I'm glad that you didn't find that to be the case during your own school experience. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.


Abigail Sort of random question- I just finished reading Adorkable by Sarah Manning which is story about a different kind of lonely girl who deals with it all by running an empire of "dorkiness" with thousands of blog and twitter followers and so forth. Do you think things would have been different for you or are different for kids nowadays who can find solace in virtual friends? When I was in high school in the late 90's, the internet was still coming into its own, and having online friends definitely didn't feel like having real friends.


Heather Perhaps. Cell phones were just coming into common use when I was in high school, and very few people texted, much less tweeted, blogged, what have you. I suppose that if cell phones were allowed in the lunchroom, it could make passing the time alone seem less awkward. And I also imagine the feeling of having friends in some form or fashion would help bolster confidence, but truly, I imagine it would still suck to be on your own regardless.


Abigail There's probably some interesting research on this but it's always intresting to hear anecdotal opinions.


Kritika Narula this is such a great book.


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