Editor’s note: Today, librarian Maria brings us another book in her ongoing series on bullying. She’s added that this book is a tough read – discretion is advised.
Title: By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead
Author: Julie Ann Peters
This is the first book I read from my bully list when I started this blog. However, I quickly decided I definitely did not want to begin with this one. Daelyn believes she is damaged beyond repair and has a history of botched suicide attempts, the latest attempt damaging her esophagus and vocal cords so that she cannot speak. She decides, however, that this time she will succeed. As the novel progresses, we learn that Daelyn was severely bullied as a child at camp and throughout her childhood. She copes by shutting the world out. She has no friends, but one new boy keeps trying to reach out to her and won’t give up no matter how hard she tries to push him away. Will his friendship be enough to save her?
To be honest, I couldn’t wait to finish this book because Daelyn’s sadness just permeates every molecule of your heart and soul as you read her story. It’s tragic that any young person should have to feel that way. In the back of the book, there is a discussion guide and the term “bullycide” is used. It’s the first time I have heard of this word, even though it is certainly not a new concept. The online definition states that it is the act of killing oneself due to depression and living in fear caused by bullying – the escape of bullying by suicide. Daelyn defines it as “I’m scared, okay? I’ve always been scared. Every day of my life I wake up terrified. I wonder who will make it their mission to hunt me down today. I can’t WAIT to be rid of that feeling.”
Would I recommend this book? Yes, but to older teens and adults. I think we would all agree that this is an important subject that needs to be addressed, and sometimes, fiction is a powerful healer. Because this is such a serious subject, I wanted to include the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). If you want to get a glimpse into the mind of a teenager contemplating suicide, this book does it well, although it hurts to read it.