Erased by Margaret Chatwin
There’s that moment – you know the moment – when you emerge from sub-consciousness and enter full awareness. Now imagine reaching that moment with a pounding head, throbbing body, hospital ID band around your wrist, and no memory. No idea why you hurt the way you do, or how you got where you are. No clue what your own name is, or who the people next to you are.
I’m seventeen-year-old Ryan Farnsworth, and that’s what happened to me. Now I have to walk a mile in my own, unfamiliar shoes; view myself through the eyes of a perfect stranger; live the life a former me chose. I also need to figure out why that former me tried to kill me.
Erased was such a surprisingly good read. I thought the idea sounded interesting and right from the first page I was hooked. I loved that it was written from a guys point of view. It was just a really great book about Ryan becoming the guy he has always wanted to be and reconciling/fixing who he used to be. The main thing he needs to fix is his relationship with Luc and it really is a story of Ryan and Luc becoming brothers again. It is just a feel good book. By the end you are just happy and just...you just feel good about life. That might sound a bit lame, it sounds kind of like I am talking about a Lifetime movie or something, but it is not like that. It is not cheesy and lame, it was a great read and really hopeful. Even though I figured out what happened the night he tried to kill himself way before you actually do, it was still a great read.
The story starts with Ryan finally coming home from the hospital after he tried to kill himself by driving his car off the road. He broke a lot of bones in his body, cannot walk very well for long, or use stairs, or do many things he used to. He also cannot remember anything about his life before his accident/suicide attempt. It is pretty obvious early on what the last straw was that pushed him to try and end his life, not that that was how he should have dealt with everything. Once you see how his dad is it kind of makes even more sense.
Ryan doesn't remember anyone in his life. He doesn't recognize his friends or family members and he has a hard time trying to figure out who he is. People, especially his dad, keep telling him what he loves and such, but they don't always make sense to him. He was a great football player, but now he has no interest in the game. He likes art and finds peace creating art, but his dad is not very happy about that. He doesn't like art, he is going to work had and be back on the football field soon. Sure. It was just really interesting watching how everyone is around Ryan and how he deals with every situation.
One day his mom throws a party for him, something he definitely doesn't want. He escapes and gets lost and ends up in Paige's front yard. From then on they become closer and she is the one person who he can talk to, who stands by him and tries to help him. She is so great for him and he is able to be such good friends with her partially because she just moved to town. She is the only person who didn't know him from before the accident. She is sweet and kind and really great for Ryan.
Ryan quickly starts to find that he was not a very good person before. He treated people terribly, especially his brother. His "friends" he can't stand. He is especially upset when he sees how horrible they are to Luc. Ryan really was terrible to him, and that is not all. He quickly sees how his parents have always treated Luc as second best, not as important as Ryan. It is pretty heartbreaking watching how he used to be and how hurt Luc has been this entire time, how starved for his parents attention Luc is. Gradually Ryan is able to fix some of his past mistakes and since his accident he has tried really hard to just be a good person. Not everyone is happy about this change. His "friends" don't seem to like the new Ryan since he isn't a jerk like them. The worst part? Ryan gets feelings sometimes about how he really did care for these people that he can't stand anymore. How he really did love them and reconciling that feeling with what he knows is hard at times. He also starts standing up to his family, to his dad, and not taking the nonsense he keeps trying to feed Ryan. Man his home life is really no walk in the park. In many ways Ryan's suicide attempt and subsequent amnesia was the best thing that happened to him. He was able to get the life he always wanted, be the person he always wanted to be, and save his relationship with his brother Luc before it was too late. Really a great read and the ending just leaves you all warm and fuzzy inside.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2