Emily Gold and Christopher Harte were born a few months apart to mothers who were best friends. Growing up, they were partners in crime and as close as any two people could possibly be. As they moved into their teenage years, it was natural that Chris and Emily’s friendship turned a relationship. Perfection shatters on a fall evening when their parents are called with horrifying news. They must come to the hospital immediately because there has been a shooting involving Chris and Emily.
The Harte’s and the Gold’s race to the emergency room Em was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Christopher has a scalp laceration and stitches. Emily and Chris went to the park to fulfill a suicide pact. The gun that killed Emily was Chris dad’s. Chris fainted after Em’s shot before he could follow through. When Chris is charged with Emily’s murder, an already tragic situation becomes catastrophic. Melanie Gold becomes so bitter and starts to blame and turn on everyone, especially her best friend.
While all of this happens attorney Jordan McAfee is trying to build a case that will let Chris off the hook. Meanwhile Christopher needs to face the truth of his relationship with Emily, and ask himself how much she really loved him. The answer is devastating. Everyone tries to put together the pieces of what exactly happened. Too many things don’t add up the trajectory of the bullet, Emily’s demeanor, her future prospects as a very talented artist to label her death a suicide.
Secrets are rescued from their hidden corners and the answers eventually come together as Christopher taking the stand in his own defense. The answer is that Emily committed suicide with Mr. Harte’s gun. Emily wanted Chris to pull the trigger but he couldn’t and Emily decided to pull it. The illness is suicide because Emily took her own life. Studies have consistently shown that having depression or bipolar disorder increases your risk for suicide significantly. It’s estimated that people with mood disorders are 12 to 20 times more likely to commit suicide than people without a mood disorder.
Suicides associated with major depressive disorder tend to occur early in the course of the illness, especially in younger people. Depressive and bipolar disorders both tend to be highly common with other disorders, such as anxiety, panic attacks, alcohol use, substance use and insomnia, and each of these is considered to be a risk factor for suicidal behaviors. Jodi Picoult was born and raised in Long Island. Picoult studied creative writing with Mary Morris at Princeton, and had two short stories published in Seventeen magazine while still a student.
Realism led Picoult to a series of different jobs following her graduation: as a technical writer for a Wall Street brokerage firm, as a copywriter at an ad agency, as an editor at a textbook publisher, and as an 8th grade English teacher before entering Harvard to pursue a master’s in education. She married Tim Van Leer, whom she had known at Princeton, and it was while she was pregnant with her first child that she wrote her first novel Songs of the Humpback Whale. I have learned from this book that suicide is something you can’t stop even if the person you love begs you to.
I knew a little about suicide and especially now when more teenagers are committing suicide or having suicidal behavior. I have meet and talked to some people with this illness and they feel down, always negative and without energy to do what they used to do. I understand that most teenagers have a tough time with life but I can’t imagine doing harmful things to my body to end my life. I’m not a fan of pain but I understand that most people can’t handle challenges and struggles life has to offer so I can’t judge but just do the best to help.
The discussion questions I have is why did Emily decide to end her life and also why did Chris keep the truth to himself for so long during the investigation. Emily seem to show suicidal behavior when young but never thought she would ask Chris to help her end her life. Emily might have had some issues with herself personally and couldn’t handle it. With Chris I feel like he loved her so much that he didn’t want to tell her parents what she did and I know he felt guilty even though he didn’t do anything. I knew that Chris wasn’t guilty even though most people thought he was.