Two Or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You by Joyce Carol Oates
TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains an explicit amount of description involving suicidality, suicide attempts, death by suicide, cutting, eating disorders, implied depression, and general fucked up-ness.
It’s been a good two months since I last worked through and read this book, but from what I can recall, it wasn’t worth the read. Let me explain and when I remember more of it through the quotes section, I’ll be sure to add more to this section as well.
The book covers a large range of topics. There are three parts to it, although the third part could have been unmentioned and it would have made the book stronger, but that’s just what I think. (It was a weird direction the rest of the book took having kept that third part and didn’t add much to the story other than how fucked up it was.)
The book covers a girl named Tink who dealt with a mother who was famous in the acting industry and who was neglectful at best and potentially abusive at worst. Her mother told her things like Tink should ‘kill herself’ and that she wouldn’t care if Tink died. That’s fucked up. I won’t even go further into that. Her mother also slapped her once too which was just appalling. I didn’t like the mother character.
Any who, Tink suffered with cutting and multiple suicide attempts and I believe it was mentioned that she suffered from bipolar I disorder. Well, unfortunately she died by suicide and had sent a last text message to her closest friends whom which the book focuses on.
One of Tink’s friends also begins cutting and borderline has an eating disorder and attempts suicide once but “sees” Tink and that stops her from dying… I don’t know if Tink being seen was to be ghostly part of the book or all the friends were hallucinating her. I really don’t know. It’s fucking weird and never explained.
Tink’s suicide is mentioned in the book, I believe, as one chapter switches to the first person point of view. It is QUITE GRAPHIC. The whole book was a trigger fest for me. I’m surprised and disappointed it didn’t come with a trigger warning.
However, I will say it was good for me to read about another perspective, even fictional, regarding what suicide leaves behind. I feel more inclined to read about that in the future.
Any who, the very last part of the book is where everything tries to tie together but I don’t think it really worked out right. Another friend of Tink’s, a “”fat”” girl, whose name began with an ‘S’ I’m sure but otherwise I can’t remember, starts to have a one-sided delusional relationship with her freakin’ science teacher in high school. She gets in trouble for it and gets him in trouble but everything works out all right. Fucking weird though, ’cause it has no relevancy except the bare minimum to the freakin’ story.
If a book could make me ‘cringe’–it’d be this one.
1.5/5 pieces of shit.
If you’re someone who has gone through mental health issues, I genuinely only recommend reading this book (if you so choose to, it’s not really worth it to be honest) if you are in a STABLE and SAFE place in recovery. This book got me SO triggered multiple times reading it, due to how explicit and detailed it was at points. I genuinely felt nauseous twice while reading it and had to put it down to do other activities more than once while trying to get through the book.
“Don’t touch! My body is my own secret. She’d learned from Tink: Don’t let the Enemy near. Only friends–who had proven themselves loyal–can come near. But even friends shouldn’t be entrusted with some secrets–. A secret can be too toxic to expose to a friend” – p. 31
I don’t like a lot of the words and their implications through this novel but I will select some from my page flags to mention here, if only to mention why I disagree with them. For this bit, it was Tink who didn’t tell anyone she was going to kill herself, which I feel needs to be said again and again: If you’re feeling suicidal or unsafe or you think you may act on it, PLEASE reach out for help!!! There’s only so much us folks on the Internet can do and believe me, I realize that (if you take into account this past week). Please get help though, people are out there to help you and WANT to help you and can get you to help you. Don’t ever let your brain bullshit convince you that you are alone because you are NOT. The feelings WILL pass. Right now may be shit and tomorrow can be better. ❤ ❤
2. “Merissa was stunned; she’d been such an idiot. Texting such a message to Hannah! Revealing too much of her private life and actually saying I will kill myself which was really a stupid and gauche thing to say, after Tink. She’d have to tell Hannah that of course she was only kidding. Wasn’t serious.” – p. 37
But Merissa WAS serious, she was. Just like in this part:
3. “there was a kind of red alert… If anyone you know speaks of suicide, please do not keep this information to yourself but tell a parent, a teacher or your guidance counselor” – p. 37
Take any subtle (I wish I wasn’t born; I’m better off dead; who would miss me?) hints of suicide seriously as well as any blunt hints of suicide (I want to jump off a building; I want to kill myself) SERIOUSLY. Any person suffering from suicidality may use either subtle or blunt ways of communicating to you and those around you that they are hurting. Please, do not let those pleas of hurt go unheard. Ask them if they are thinking about suicide, if they’ve made any plans, if they have a method, etc. And if you’re comfortable, help bring them to a place of safety if you determine they need higher up help than what you can possibly provide. Stay with them, treat them as your loved one if they are your loved one (and treat them respectfully all the same if you don’t know them) and be by their side as they go through this hard time. ❤ ❤ My two cents. 😉
4. “Even on lovely, sunny days the ghost-cloud hovers. It is not suggested that there is a reason for the ghost-cloud–depression–for the ghost-cloud just IS” – p. 41
I don’t have much of a problem with this point.
5. “Strange. How easy. Quitting the play, which had meant so much to her. And by quitting, erasing its significance. So that what had once meant too much, now meant nothing” – p. 65
I feel this is a relatable quote. When mental health issues start to take away the things you love and you don’t really seem to care about it, yeah…relatable. :S
6. “Strange how you can lose interest in your friends. You still like them–love them–but just don’t want to see them. Merissa had to wonder if Tink had felt that way. Just didn’t want to see her friends anymore. Not minding that she was leaving them and would not ever seem them again” – p. 68 to 69
I think this captures the questions left after a loved one passes away from suicide. RIP to those who have.
7. “Not seeing friends you’d been seeing almost every day for almost all your life that matters is like not breathing. Except you can’t live without breathing. But you can live without your friends.” – p. 70
😦 Who would want to, though? At what cost?
8. “But why not? What would have been so hard about that [asking for help from friends], to ask someone who loved you to do something for you? Maybe you’d be alive right now, Tink–if you had” – p. 131
Another sad, heartfelt and sinking feeling comes from this bit here. Again, capturing the grief well.
9. “And now there was a siren–I was inside the siren. Like a wild, high laughter it was, but I don’t think that the sound was me. I was fourteen then. I didn’t think that I would ever be older, but I am older now and I promise I will not make that mistake again” – p. 144
The chapter in the perspective of Tink. Unfortunately she kept her promise, she died. *heavy sigh* I’m sorry to hear that this character felt so suicidal and thought that her attempts to die were mistakes rather than chances at finding recovery. However, I’ve been there too. So, I get it, as well. 😦 (As I’m sure most of you do, too).
10. “In an undertone, Anita Chang said severely, “Tink is suicidal. Her destiny might be nowhere.” – p. 146
11. “We hated Anita for saying such a thing. We did not–we DID NOT–want to believe that Tink, who was our friend, was suicidal” – p. 147
Oh, denial…such a bitch, isn’t it? 😦
12. “We tried to think. What could we do? What could friends do? ‘Just be really nice to Tink. If she lets us down, if she’s weird sometimes–just ignore it, and love her. Just love her” – p. 151
Truer words have never been spoken. ❤ If you have a friend who can be difficult at times, just know that there’s probably something going on behind the scenes that you are either unaware or aware of, and cut them some slack. Be kind to one another ❤
13. “Senior year means doing everything for the final time. Except Tink’s final year with us was our junior year. When no one was prepared for an ending” – p. 152
I suppose there is NO way to prepare for a suicide. Harsh realities.
14. “Most of all she dreaded something cruel and stupid posted online, where everyone could see it–including her teachers. I will kill myself. By now, I should have. Except I am not brave like Tink” – p. 217 and 218
Suicide is neither cowardly nor bravery. Shining the conversation either way is inaccurate and only perpetuates the pain one who has lost loved ones to suicide, suicide attempt survivors and those still struggling that they feel. It adds to the stigma. It is inaccurate and a way to glorify the act of suicide–something that should not exist. Suicide is a serious topic, treat it as such. Casting blame only brings shame. Don’t do that to a person.
15. “‘Because there are things we have all forgotten–suppressed. And there might be good reasons why.'” – p. 220
Thought this quote stood out a bunch 😉 Hope you like it too!
Any who, that’s it for this book review! Meant to get this sucker out for AGES but still hadn’t, I’m pretty back logged for book reviews, got 2 more to go! Might just type them up rather than writing them all down again…we’ll see.
Blah. Now back to my homework…ooof.
I’m doing better this weekend though 🙂 Makes therapy seem questionable for tomorrow but I’ll try not to listen to that part of my brain.
Hope you guys have a lovely week!! ❤ ❤ ❤