Saturday, September 19, 2020

Book Review: "The Bridge" by Bill Konigsberg

Bill Konigsberg's new YA novel, The Bridge, is an emotional, eye-opening look at teenagers, depression, and suicide.

Aaron can’t take it any longer. He’s tired of not feeling like he’s good enough or talented enough. He’s tired of wondering if he’ll ever find a guy to love him, tired of putting himself out there and getting little in return.

One day, he goes to the George Washington Bridge and is ready to end it all. And there he sees Tillie.

Tillie is at the end of her rope. She’s been bullied, she’s been ghosted, she’s fighting to be seen and heard and loved. She just doesn’t feel like she can go on any longer. And then she sees Aaron.

What happens if Aaron jumps?
What happens if Tillie jumps?
What if they both jump?
What if neither one jumps?

Konigsberg explores all four scenarios, the impact on those left behind (including Aaron or Tillie if they saw the other jump), the possible ways they might have touched the world had they not jumped, and the beauty and strength which comes from having the support of people who get you. He recognizes, however, that’s not all we need to help us.

This was a beautiful, moving book which hit me in the feels, reminding me of my own struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. The unique 4-scenarios-in-1 concept mostly works, and it really looks at the big and small moments of depression. Konigsberg is a terrific writer; I've enjoyed his previous books, particularly The Music of What Happens.

He has written an important, gorgeous book that will make you feel and think, but it's not so heavy or maudlin that you'll feel utterly finished afterward.

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, in the US you can call 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE.

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