in , by Komal, July 16, 2020
Book: My Backward Life
Author: Claire Merle
Rating: 3.5/5
Publication Date: 16 Jul 2020

It is hard to talk about this book without spoilers so you, my readers are probably going to be confused, just like our protagonist Louise Doors and me during my read. But guys, remember, we are in this together! Now, onto the review…

“How did you savor each moment, appreciate the small things, and embrace the hardships, unless you were in the process of trying to accomplish something? A journey by definition meant traveling from one place to another. A journey needed a destination.”

‘My Backward Life’ is the story of Louise Doors, a high school student preparing for GCSEs who finds herself in a time loop. She attends a concert with her best friends, gets drunk. When she wakes from her slumber six days have passed and nothing is the same. Her friends humiliate her, her parents have marital issues. The only person on her side is this pyromaniac Dylan who gives her a letter that she wrote to herself. And when she woke up the day after, the days seemed to progress back to the day of the party. Louise needs to figure out what happened and fix it with the help of Dylan. She also believes she will probably die. Can she fix the chaos in her life without losing Dylan? Or worse, herself?

This book must have been difficult to write. My instinct tells me that Claire Merle worked extremely hard on this book. Louise Doors aka Galaxy Doors is a good protagonist. She is smart, sensible, and kind. Louise sees good in everybody. Louise and Dylan had good chemistry.

“I felt like a thread in the middle of it all. A thread with a color all of its own, weaving in and out, skimming their worlds, wrapping tiny cross stitches around Dylan and me.”

 I didn’t know any of the characters well enough to connect with them although all the situations were extremely relatable. This book gave me severe ‘Speak’ vibes in the beginning. ‘My Backward Life’ will relate to people struggling with mental health issues. Louise Doors' disregard for authority, peer pressure, family issues will appeal to the target audience.  

“Listen, sweetie, forget what everyone says about your teens, being the best years of your life. It’s rubbish. Being 16 is like being inside a bubble and you’re suffocating and trying to slit the sides, but all the adults have made you believe that if you break the bubble, the vacuum outside will swallow you up.”

There were many literary techniques used in diverse ways, many vivid characters with flaws. The writing was sophisticated and there are so many things worthy of praise. ‘My Backward Life’ had unique diction that matched the unconventional plot. The character growth of Louise was inspiring. There are so many thought-provoking incidents that take place in the book. ‘My Backward Life’ contains an unhealthy dose of symbolism. I have more to say about this in the spoiler section. 

‘My backward life’ had weird pacing. It got slow in between and the ending felt rushed. Although it made me curious, this book is meant to be read slowly. There was so much detail. The author tried to convey too much information than the plot could handle. The book felt disorganized, it wasn’t well-balanced. I appreciated what Claire Merle wrote but it didn’t transition smoothly. The paragraphs were pieces of a puzzle stacked on top of each other rather than connected. Despite all the sentiments this book consisted of, there was a detached tone. The climax was satisfying but not justified because when people redo their past they will face unexpected consequences in the future and a bittersweet climax would’ve worked better. 

Spoiler Section:

Okay, spoilers are necessary because I’d like to clarify a scientific fact mentioned in the book.

“Did you know an agitated electron can jump orbit? Just disappears and reappears somewhere, spinning around the nucleus?”

The symbolism worked but that was a scientifically inaccurate statement because it is based on the Bohr’s orbital theory which has been proved wrong by many other scientists as it didn’t explain the dual nature of the electron and wasn’t following Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. 

End of spoilers.

I recommend this book to YA readers who are in the mood for something unconventional. Trigger: Mention of Rape, abuse, and eating disorders. 
ARC provided by BooksGoSocial and NetGalley. Thank you. 

During my read:

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