Teach Me To Forget by Erica M. Chapman, Merit Press, 2016. ISBN: 9781440594571. Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS
Ellery has reached that point…the one where looking ahead shows nothing good, looking back sucks and the pain of today is too much. She decides to kill herself with the cheap shotgun she conned a casual friend into buying for her. When she pulls the trigger, it misfires and, after multiple trigger pulls with it aimed at her, she blows a hole in the ceiling with the one shell she has. In the course of trying to return it and either get a refund or one that works, she goes to the wrong big box store and ends up being confronted by Colter Sawyer, a classmate who works there as a security guard.
He can tell right off the bat that she’s desperate and thinking lethal, but when he intercedes, Ellery can’t figure out why. Even so, she can’t ignore him even though she still plans on ending her life. Her guilt over her younger sister’s death and the dead feelings at home are too powerful to overcome, but she manages a facade.
Colter has his own secrets and a reason to do whatever he can to keep Ellery from succeeding, Add in her fixation with another male friend Dean who survived his own attempt at suicide and what happens after they talk about death, coupled with her own secret plans to make up for the abortive shotgun episode, make this a gritty, realistic read.
Partly a journey of grief , partly an uncovering of secrets, partly revelations about why both Colter and Ellery feel so much guilt and part love story, readers won’t be sure of the outcome until the last few pages. It’s one heck of a good read and realistic in terms of how scary and powerful planned self-destruction can be. It’s a worthy addition to any school or public library. I look forward to more books by this debut author.