Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Some of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby Review

"Sometimes bad things happen, and we are not the same when they are over.

For months, Tallie McGovern has been coping with the death of her older brother the only way she knows how: by smiling bravely and pretending that she's okay. She’s managed to fool her friends, her parents, and her teachers so far, yet she can’t even say his name out loud: “N—” is as far as she can go. But when Tallie comes across a letter in the mail, it only takes two words to crack the careful fa├žade she’s built around herself:

ORGAN DONOR. 

Two words that had apparently been checked off on her brother’s driver’s license; two words that her parents knew about—and never confided to her. All at once, everything Tallie thought she understood about her brother’s death feels like a lie. And although a part of her knows he’s gone forever, another part of her wonders if finding the letter might be a sign. That if she can just track down the people on the other end of those two words, it might somehow bring him back.

Hannah Barnaby’s deeply moving novel asks questions there are no easy answers to as it follows a family struggling to pick up the pieces, and a girl determined to find the brother she wasn’t ready to let go of."
YABC.

"A grief novel" is the phrase I will use to quickly and easily sum up this book. Tallie, the narrator, struggles to overcome her brother's death, but she is far from ready to let go of him especially with her feelings, her sadness, and her guilt. The day she gets that fated letter about his organs being donated is the day she pushes through her grief in the wrong direction. But at least, she is moving somewhere. 

I remember reading the website, Gives Me Hope. (I recommend you all to read it. It's really sweet, and you should prepare for a lot of tears. I ended up sobbing into my sleeve and getting my eyes all red. But back to the topic.) 

I read an entry. A particular one. A girl has a loved one (boyfriend, I think) who has donated his heart to a little boy, who tells her that he is her friend now, because he has her boyfriend's heart. It's a very beautiful entry, and it makes me wonder if this author (Hannah Barnaby) has incidentally read that website. But that's not the point. 

The point is that Tallie is trying to get her brother back. It's a strange way of getting him back, but she's trying by finding pieces of him. Just like how that boy becomes the friend to the girl, because he has her boyfriend's organ. Tallie searches for his most important organ, the heart. I myself find her actions mildly alarming, but I do acknowledge that grief does strange things to a person's psyche. It always does, and Tallie is not one of the exceptions. And the joy of seeing Tallie overcome that grief is a triumph of its own. 

The plot majorly consists of the narrator's search and a subplot of a minor romance that isn't too relevant to the story (but relevant enough to keep the story moving forward). The narrator's arc remains to be the most important and engrossing part of the book, which is exactly where the focus should be for an emotional punch.

And then there's the ending. The best part of the book. Undoubtedly. When compared to the rest of the book (and that includes the narrator, the search, the narrator's struggle with her grief), the ending stands out so much and it made me cry when I read it for the first time. It's a great way to end this book. 

In conclusion, Some of the Parts is a touching novel about grief and tragedy that has me crying at the end. 

Rating: Three out of Five

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