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before i die

Monday. 12. 22. 2008.

I’m reading the Swedish version of Jenny Downham’s Before I Die (Innan jag dör). So far it’s pretty good. It’s about a 16 year old girl with leukemia who has a few months to live, so she write this list of things she wants to do before she dies.

I read some reviews on and it was funny to read the complains some people had about this book.

“She wasn’t particularly nice as a person, was rude to her family constantly and although she was dying, didn’t want to be her own person or find herself and what she wanted – she was still wrapped up in pleasing her “friend” Zoey. This alleged friend seems to forget that Tessa is terminally ill and takes her out to go clubbing with the main aim of finding her a guy – any guy for Tessa to lose her virginity to. Strangely enough, Tessa doesn’t seem to mind all that much about the way Zoey treats her; doing anything Zoey tells her to. This even includes walking up a man in the street and telling him she loves him; yet another seemingly pointless task designed to amuse her so called friend and revealing the sort of teenager Tessa would have continued to be, had she not become terminally ill.”

The character is 16. 16 year olds are rude to their family. They do things to please their undeserving friends. They do stupid things like tell strangers that they love them because their friends told them too. I think this reviewer has forgotten what being 16 is like.

The book has made me wonder what I would do if I found out that I had only a few months to live. At 25, I think I would choose not to treat the leukemia unless I had children that depended on me to survive. I mean the people I know will be sad that I’m dead but they will learn how to move on with their lives. I probably shouldn’t say that because life for everyone close to Johnny is obviously VERY different after Johnny passed away. But cancer treatment doesn’t seem that great and I don’t think I want to spend the last months of my life in a hospital getting drained of my blood and having doctors and nurses poke and prod me. It’s a difficult thing to decide on.

I think being 25, my views on how I would spend my last months and who I would spend it with would also be different from the decisions the main character makes. Obviously losing my virginity would not be top priority. But I might do some of the other things, like take a few drugs and spend a few days without any restraint.

Death is not a scary or sad issue for me. The thing about death that I think will make me most sad is the fact that I would miss out on all the things I would not have missed out if I was alive. Especially now when I’m in a happy moment of my life. I would miss lazy Sundays with Fredrik and the kitties, going to concerts and music festivals with Denise, having Buddha’s with Chris, Irene, Noel, Ryan and Tara, eating dinner with my family, going on road trips, talking on the phone with mom, fika with Emmanuelle, talking in bed with Fredrik before we fall asleep, having Ull suck on my fingers before he falls asleep on my lap, hearing Milo’s motor boat like purrs and so on. There are A LOT of things I would miss about life.

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