Wednesday, October 27, 2010

YOU ARE NOT HERE by Samantha Schutz

I was excited to see Samantha Schutz had written a novel.  Her memoir I DON'T WANT TO BE CRAZY revealed her talent as a writer and her tremendous ability to describe her own very raw and painful experiences. 

YOU ARE NOT HERE is a novel in verse.  The focus is on Annaleah and the sudden and tragic death of someone near and dear to her. 

If pressed, Annaleah would not be able to articulate her true relationship with Brian.  They've been seeing each other for a short while and have shared a first kiss and much more, but to say he is her boyfriend still doesn't seem quite right.  Their relationship has not included any outsiders.  When Annaleah visits Brian, he always hustles her out before his father comes home.  She hasn't really shared her budding romance with friends either.  Her one attempt to describe her feelings about Brian brought harsh criticism from her closest friend, Marissa.  And as far as introducing Brian to her mother, forget about it.  Better to leave that woman in the dark.

Because of the secretive nature of their relationship, when Brian suddenly dies while playing basketball, Annaleah has nowhere to turn.  Since no one truly understands, she withdraws, spending all her time either in her room or visiting his gravesite.  Their relationship was viewed as casual causing Annaleah's mother and friends to look upon her continued grieving as unnecessary and ridiculous.  Unable to explain, Annaleah sinks deeper and deeper into despair as she mourns the loss of a young man she realizes may not even have loved her.

Schutz explores the human reaction to death and loss in YOU ARE NOT HERE.  The process of grieving is such a personal experience, and Schutz demonstrates that fact as she takes Annaleah on this often lonesome journey.  Readers looking for a "problem" type novel will find this fast-read satisfying, although rather predictable.

1 comment:

Samantha Schutz said...

Thank you for the shout out! Check out the You Are Not Here photo contest Win signed copies of I Don't Want to Be Crazy and You Are Not Here.