Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
What Should We Do Instead of Killing Ourselves? by Elizabeth Gordon follows a professional reader's journey as she searches for the author of an anonymous suicide journal, discovering her own demons along the way. Liz works as a professional reader for Jarvis Publishers, a publishing company in New York City. After receiving an anonymous journal via the mail, Liz discovers it to be a suicide journal written within a span of a year, between 2017-18. Determined to locate the author, Liz travels to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, meeting the relatives of three different victims of suicide. Liz's journey has a profound effect on her, forcing her to face her own inner demons. However, a panic-attack-induced trip to the hospital provides her with a fresh perspective on her preconceived notions. It eventually prepares her for a confrontation with her boss, Marcus.
A nuanced and thoughtful examination of depression and the fragility of human existence, What Should We Do Instead of Killing Ourselves? evokes feelings of melancholia and optimism alike with complex subject matters that make you introspect. Author Elizabeth Gordon takes a deep dive into the psyche of suicide victims, taking a mature approach with a narrative that feels as authentic as it is riveting to read. A character-driven drama at its core, this is one of the finest examples of slow-burn storytelling. The way the journal resonates with Liz, leading her to question the purpose and meaning of life, strikes a chord. This book is for anyone who enjoys philosophical musings on the human condition. Highly recommended.