By the Time You Read This I’ll be Dead
Julie Anne Peters
Daelyn has tried to kill herself multiple times, and each time has failed. She’s got scars everywhere and can no longer talk, and doesn’t want to keep trying. Mix this with a boy who won’t give up on her and you get a poignant teenage novel.
You have to be in the right mood to read this novel I think. There are some great thought provoking moments, as well as the discussion questions at the end of the novel to consider. Novels like this should be in high school required reading.
The narrative is written so that you can’t feel too much of Daelyn behind it, which is the point – she has isolated herself from the world. Although the title of the novel suggests that this is written in a journal format – never fear, it’s not.
Although I was hankering after it when it first came out, I couldn’t say that this was one of my favourite Peters novels. It’s not bad, it’s a theme close to my heart, but it just lacks some of the pizzazz of the others. I don’t know what’s missing. Maybe it’s just that I expect queer novels from her, and this isn’t one of them. It’s definitely still about minorities.
Bullying is a problem which is becoming worse, not better, over time. Daelyn has suffered horribly, but indeed, she never did stand up for herself. It’s not really her fault though, although I’d love to know why she was fat in the first place. When I was in highschool, there was an obese girl who was bullied. I never really knew her that well though, and she moved schools because of the bullying. Kids are cruel.
I’d recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed Scars, The Burn Journals or anything else in that type of genre (coming of age / mental illness).