It is a HUGE honour to welcome Gayle Forman to Book Angel Booktopia today to share the song of the month for January. Coinciding with the release of I was Here.
This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend’s shocking suicide.
As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.
A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty.
I Was Here song: “Fireflies” by Bishop Allen
I seem to have a thing about fireflies. I don’t think you have them in Britain, and we didn’t have them where I grew up in California but in summer on the east coast of the US, they arrive, these ugly little insects that would be entirely unremarkable, except their backsides light up a yellowish green colour. There is something magical about them. Fireflies have become a recurring motif in my work – you’ll find references in Sisters in Sanity, Where She Went, and in my short story in the anthology, My True Love Gave To Me. So, yeah. I’m a little obsessed. Apparently I’m not the only one. There are a lot of great songs about fireflies or featuring fireflies.
Fireflies have found their way into my latest book, I Was Here, but with even more significance than before. Early on Cody’s best friend Meg, becomes kind of obsessed with Firefly songs after she comes across the Heavens To Betsy song “Firefly.” (Look it up; it’s fantastic.) I decided Meg would compile a list of Firefly songs and as I was searching for more songs, I came across the Bishop Allen song “Fireflies.” I was already a fan of the band, but I’d never heard this track before. When I listened to it, I knew it was the song of the book. The lyric “oh so brief and bright,” perfectly describes Meg’s life (and was on the shortlist of titles). But it was the line “It says you can still forgive her, and she will forgive you back, ”(which is quoted in the book) that really hit me in the gut. It speaks to the heart of this book: forgiveness. It also happens to be a beautiful, haunting song.
There are a number of brilliant songs mentioned throughout the book that I have put into a playlist on Spotify. I’m not sure I managed to pick up all the songs mentioned, please let me know if I have missed any.
While Gayle doesn’t have a specific playlist for her books she does have a wonderfully eclectic selection of music. You can follow her playlists on Spotify HERE