________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 16. . . .December 23, 2016

I'm Glad I Didn't Kill Myself

Iím Glad I Didnít Kill Myself: Catís Journals.

Catina Noble.
n.p., Crowe Productions (www.catinanoble.wordpress.com), 2016.
155 pp., trade pbk., $17.99.
ISBN 978-1-927058-35-0.

Grades 8-10 / Ages 13-15.

Review by Joan Marshall.

* /4

   

excerpt:

Anyway I just canít believe how much control he had over me. I think I grew up too much and sacrificed more than my share for him. I just hope he doesnít call or we run into each other. All I have to do is remember all this stuff I am writing and thinking the next time I run into him. I especially donít want to be alone together. I donít think he will ever understand himself and he doesnít understand me. It seems like he is trying to bribe me into getting me to do the things he wants me to do for him and he acts like he is the one doing me all the favors. It also seems as though he is trying to make me believe that he doesnít care about what I do and who I see. I know he does. I used to try and cover everything up so he wouldnít know. Why? How stupid of me. I donít have to answer to him. He has no authority over me. He just doesnít want me to date anyone so that I can hang onto him forever. Well Iím sorry Pete; this is not going to happen.

If I try I know I can keep you just as a casual friend and you will not treat me as an object. I wish I wouldíve known. I couldíve maybe prevented it. Well I know that Iíve learned my lesson and it will be a while before I make all those mistakes again. I need to keep reminding myself that losing you was not the end of life. In fact, it was just the beginning of mine.

 

Iím Glad I Didnít Kill Myself is the authorís diary, written when she was 15 to 17-years-old from September 1993 to August 1995 during which time her fractious family lived in an Ottawa apartment. She is filled with resentment (and often fury) at her parents while trying to do well academically. However, this diary mainly revolves around her many relationships with the boys she gets involved with and how her girlfriends do or do not support her. Catís first love, Pete, treats her abysmally, and it takes her over a year to figure out that she doesnít have to love him. Subsequent boyfriends - Devon, Mo, Stu, Sam and Juan - lead her through her high school years. At the end of the summer of 1995, threatened physically by her father, Cat leaves home to live with her friend Lana. In an afterword, the reader discovers that Cat marries quickly, has four children, manages to finish high school and obtains both college and university degrees.

     Many diary entries are ambiguous, and some major events are never explained. Why was she testifying at a trial to support her friend Lana? What did her father do to her that was so awful many years ago, but for which he was never punished? What illegal thing did she and her friend Camry do that causes her such trepidation? After she eagerly anticipates a meeting with her lawyer (why does she have a lawyer??), she never writes about what happened at the meeting.

     The time frame is, of course, pre-cellphone, pre-Facebook, and pre-Internet as the teens write each other and call each other on home landlines. To the present day reader, this book will seem like historical fiction. This diary/memoir reflects a more innocent high school experience that today would seem more junior high in nature. Catís wildly variable emotional life, her anger, despair and occasional happiness apparently reflect her problems with anxiety and depression which she attempts to alleviate through writing.

     Iím Glad I Didnít Kill Myself is filled with the minutia and the angst of teenage life, interesting only to the teenagers involved. There are some sloppy editing errors that could easily have been rectified. Some of the entries contain typical high school poetry fuelled by high emotion.

     Readers enamoured of the diary/memoir genre may be able to use it as an example for their own writing.

Not Recommended.

Joan Marshall is a Winnipeg, MB, bookseller.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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