In What I Leave Behind, all of the characters have to face and deal with a problem. Will’s dad’s suicide has caused Will to blame himself for all the trouble his friends and family are facing: his mother’s night job; sexual assault of his best friend; the loneliness of a chained up dog on the streets; his pain for his father’s death. While he blames himself, he is tormented heavily by his and the others’ troubles and he sees pain in everyone, even if they are perfectly fine. He refuses to remember and be reminded of the misery of the past in any way, even if that means trying to avoid it. However, he soon has to face the agony and wounds directly that has tortured him for so long.
I am a fairly pessimistic person, so this book was fitting for me, but I can’t say that the pain some of the characters endured would be easy to get over. However, a disappointing part of this book is that it seems that the only memory Will has of his father is cornbread his father made for him before he died. He should have fonder memories of his father other than that, but maybe the author did it to help Will make the impression of trying to forget. Also, there was barely a plot, and the story wasn’t too interesting at the beginning, and hard to understand as well. Otherwise, the book is great, expressing emotions with good imagery and description.
What I Leave Behind is one of the few books that have many troubling issues present that come up in society often at once. The book provides the answers to these problems for people who need it. It can turn people from depression to happiness.
Reviewed by Eric Hu, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Area Library