Thursday, December 15, 2011
REVIEW: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
Reviewed by Carrie from Teabelly
The best way I can think of to describe Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison is as a snarky version of Before I Fall, (with a little touch of It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol thrown in). It’s not exactly original, but it’s enjoyable enough.
Bridget Duke is the most popular girl in school, and in keeping with that stereotype she’s also mean. She keeps others in line by death glares and digs at them, making even her so-called best friends’ lives miserable. After following her through a few days of her life, and seeing how a ‘misunderstanding’ leads to Bridget alienating her friends, ruining someone’s career and causing problems in her family, we find her on trial for her life. After a car accident she wakes up in an unknown place, surrounded by those she has injured, and having to see life through their eyes. It is only after these revelations that she begins to understand how her actions have affected them, and she hopes to fix it.
Bridget is, frankly, detestable, and is so for most of the book. I can only hope there aren’t actually girls like this out there, so selfish and arrogant, and if there are I am especially glad I am no longer in school to deal with them. For two thirds of the book I wanted really terrible things to happen to her, and I wouldn’t have been at all upset if she had died. Part of the problem with the book is that it makes it too easy to hate Bridget, and it’s also hard to understand how someone can be so oblivious to their own actions. She honestly seems to have no idea that how she acts is wrong, or that her words can hurt. Everyone else is the problem, everyone else is just being too
sensitive, while she’s just being real. If she had actually been straight out horrible and known it, but had reasons (whatever they might be – the loss of her mother is sort of glossed over, as is her absent father), she might have been more relatable, and her change of heart more believable.
Thankfully the last part reigned it in a bit, and gave us more to Bridget than just being mean to anyone who might be stupid enough to care about her. Sure, this is done through oft-used tropes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It’s not particularly subtle – a main character named Anna Judge for example – and there’s a bit too much ‘And it was all a dream’ about it, but it’s fun, and it has a decent message that will hopefully come across to any teen who might be a Bridget in the making. Don’t do it kids.
Thank you Carrie!