Plot Summary: Jersey Hatch seemed to have it all together—he played sports, was popular, had a great girlfriend, best friend, and supportive parents. But when he emerges from a recuperative care center, all that is gone, his legs and hands don’t work right, his mouth says every word that pops into his brain, and he has to write down his thoughts so that he remembers even the most basic directions and details. Through it all, one question haunts him: why did he try to kill himself?
This book is an amazing window into a damaged mind. The author is a neuropsychologist, and it shows. The actions and reactions of Jersey Hatch are so real it’s uncanny. I found myself cheering for him, feeling sorry for him, and getting completely baffled by everything that was jumbled into his brain. All at the same time.
I was a little confused by his ramblings at first, but after I figured out more of Jersey then it became part of the experience. And it was a good experience. I thought Jersey’s journey to discovering why he shot himself was realistic and heart-rending. It was serious, sad, funny, and satisfying. Though Jersey is seventeen, he doesn't sound that old, and that's because of his brain injury. I thought the author captured this voice very, very well.
As with all my book discussions, there are SPOILERS below.
Jersey Hatch can’t help but say whatever pops into his mind. Whether it’s the state of his house, socks, or frog farts, if he thinks it then most likely he’s going to say it. He has to concentrate incredibly hard in order to keep it in.
When he discovers his reason for shooting himself, it’s a bit anti-climactic. But it’s supposed to be that way, because Jersey had blown too many little things out of proportion. I think that’s fairly common with suicide victims – they perceive their situations as the end of the world, even if they’re not. And I found it completely believable that Jersey would consider finishing the job he started a year ago, except doing it right this time.
The only thing that gave me pause was the lack of a counselor. I’m not in the business, but I’m not so sure a recovery clinic would send a suicide victim back into the real world without a counselor to go to should things get tough. After all, Jersey almost offed himself again, and I would think plenty of suicide victims would be thinking the same thing. But other than that, this was a fantastic book. One I definitely recommend.