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REVIEW + DISCUSSION: goodbye days, by jeff zentner (+ recommendation for books dealing with grief, anxiety and depression)

goodbye days

TRIGGER WARNING: suicide/self-harm jokes. homophobia. sexism.

i was sent a digital copy of this book from publisher through netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

31575528Goodbye Days, by Jeff Zentner
Published by: Andersen (March 7th, 2017)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Anxiety & Depression, Death

★★☆☆☆

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

honestly, i don’t know where to start this review.

i sincerly admit that this book held a great message about getting over a dear person’s death, and about anxiety and depression, but it stopped here. other than that, the book was quite boring, and it held a lot problematicness.

and the worst thing about this is that it’s either so obvious that i had to read the passage several times to absorb that this has gone through several edits, or so hidden that i had to read the passage several times to find the ~thing.

the first passage that held my attention was the following one:

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this is…horrible. how can you be joking about this? honestly? there isn’t only one, but THREE suicide/self-harm jokes. and in THREE different ways. i couldn’t believe it. there isn’t ANY excuse to do joke about this. NOTHING can justify it. it’s wrong.

and then my surprise was even more surprised:

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so summing up real quick: the main character and his friends make gay jokes as if it’s a normal thing, then after one of them actually comes out secretely to him, he says that they’re not really homphobic, and that “it’s shitty to joke like that anyway”? not having any gay friend doesn’t give you the right to joke like that? is that hard to understand?

i’m just so angry.

at the beginning of chapter 25, i read this:

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then four chapters after that:c-rhlz2xcae3w_i

now at first glance, i didn’t have any problem with this passage, but then if you look really closely into it, you’ll find that this Dr. Mendez makes a sexist remark KNOWING that it’s sexist, smiles, and says “i need to do better”. excuse me? acknowledging that something is sexist doesn’t make it any less sexist, if that wasn’t obvious already.

i just…how? i’m really disgusted. and angry. and sad. i didn’t expect this to happen when i first requested this book. and i’m sure that i missed on so many other problematic things.

some of you may think that the author did this because it’s “how some teens speak/act”, and i just…no. the only thing that makes teens joke about this is actually seeing this in media (movies, books, etc.), so putting these kind of scenes doesn’t help with anything. this is seriously dangerous.

now after a rant on twitter, some people asked me whether i recommend this book or not. at first i was about to tell you just to be careful while reading it, but honestly? i can’t recommend it, simply because there are so many amazing books that deal with grief, anxiety, and depression, and don’t have all of this. that don’t hurt. and i decided to list them here:

and with that, i’m out.

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11 thoughts on “REVIEW + DISCUSSION: goodbye days, by jeff zentner (+ recommendation for books dealing with grief, anxiety and depression)

  1. I saw these screenshots on Twitter yesterday, and was gobsmacked that an author would write about things like that, and in such a offensive way. I’m yet to see a response from Zentner, but one thing is for sure, I won’t be reading this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I genuinely didn’t know any of this. I’ve heard great things about this book and I was looking forward to reading it. I definitely won’t be know though. This sounds beyond problematic and I can’t believe I’ve seen it reviewed so many times and never seen this mentioned…Thank you so much for pointing these issues out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so happy that all of this has come to your attention. and that’s okay, i didn’t know about it either, i was really surprised by all of this.

      Like

  3. I saw your thread on twitter the other day, and I just want to say thank you for sharing this. Suicide jokes make me want to be sick – they’re not funny and just downright disgusting. I hope that your next read is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG these quotes are making me cringe…like it’s not okay to make fun of things like suicide / anxiety / depression. I’m sorry to hear that this was so disappointing. 😦 Thank you for sharing this review though, and for warning everyone about this.

    Liked by 1 person

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