11 August, 2010

Book Review: He Forgot to Say Goodbye

Title: He Forgot to Say Goodbye
Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Page Count: 321
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cover Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Excellent! I had to think a bit to figure out how the road might relate to the book, but other than that, I love it. It's rather empty, but I think that fits the tone of the book pretty well. I love the white/brown/blue theme too.

Inside flap:

"I mean, it's not as if I want a father. I have a father. It's just that I don't know who he is or where he is. But I have one."
Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove don't appear to have much in common. Ram lives in the Mexican-American working-class barrio of El Paso called "Dizzy Land". His brother is sinking into a world of drugs, wreaking havoc on their household. Jake is a rich West Side white boy who has developed a problem managing his anger. An only child, he is a misfit in his mother's shallow and materialistic world. But Ram and Jake do have one thing in common: they are lost boys who have never met their fathers. This sad fact has left both of them undeniably scarred and obsessed with the men who abandoned them. As Jake and Ram overcome their suspicions of each other, they begin to move away from their loner existences and realize that they are capable of reaching out beyond their wounds and the neighborhoods that they grew up in. Their friendship becomes a healing in a world of hurt.

My expectations: Average. I fell in love with the cover, which I guess made me expect more for some reason, (does that ever happen to you?) but I still expected an okay book.

It was much, much better than I'd thought it would be.

About the book: Plot-wise, this is a great book. Abandoned by their fathers, both Ramiro and Jake are trying to deal with living without a dad around. Tito, Ramiro's little brother, is doing drugs, and Jake's mom is insincere and doesn't really care for him much. Tito ends up in the hospital after OD-ing, and Jake finds out a secret about his stepdad, David. The ending is wonderful, one of the endings where you just want to sigh and hug the book in your hands.

Character-wise, this was also a great book. But out of the two, I think I sympathized with Ramiro Lopez more than I did with Jake Upthegrove. Ramiro's problems just felt more solid than Jake's did, and personally, I think Jake is a bit of a jerk. I'm not in the whole the-rich-kid-is-always-stuck-up, but in this case, it was a bit true. Even so, I liked reading the parts written from his perspective and learning his opinions.

Other: Language, drugs, and some drinking would be the main "issues" with this book if you avoid books with that kind of thing.

At the end of this book--besides feeling like I wanted to hug it--I felt like ranting. Venting my thoughts on the world. Not because the book was horrible or I thought the ending was bad, or because it generally rubbed me the wrong way, but because it demonstrates just how unfair the world is. And also how people deal with that unfairness.

Do I recommend this book? Overall, this was STILL a great book, and I highly recommend it!

-----The Golden Eagle


Hannah Phillips said...

i love when you write reviews! I'll have to try that book :)


Golden Eagle said...

I'm glad you like my reviews! :D

You should definitely check it out!