“The 39 deaths of Adam Strand” Gregory Galloway

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published February 21, 2013. Dutton (Penguin). 314 pp.

39DeathsofAdamStrandAdam is bored. Every day he goes drinking with his boring friends, in the same boring location by the boring river, and they do the same boring things. He gets urges to commit suicide because it’ll take him away from his boring life and the boring future that stretches out before him. Despite his best attempts to kill himself, nothing works. He wakes up a few days later fresh as a daisy.

The whole town is tired of finding his crumpled or mangled body after each attempt, but each failed attempt only makes Adam want to try harder. He’s frustrated because he’s in love with his best friend and upset/bored with life. Going to a therapist doesn’t help, reading books doesn’t help, but he knows that if he can only kill himself everything will be better.

As I read of Adam’s many different, detailed attempts to kill himself because he was bored and frustrated, all I could think was “what’s the point of this book?”  Adam can’t kill himself, so he tries all sorts of different ways hoping one of them will work. Thus, is this book supposed to be some sort of “how-to” manual for those reading it and contemplating suicide? What was Galloway’s point? If anything, it seemed to be glorifying teen drinking, reckless driving, and suicide attempts.

Having seen no point to it, and not enjoying Adam’s repeated attempts, there is no way I’d recommend this book to anyone. In fact, I’m throwing my ARC into the recycling bin instead of giving it away so no one will decide to get inspired by Adam. I honestly couldn’t find a reason for Galloway to write it, as Adam never felt truly remorseful for what he was putting everyone through when they found his body, it was more like an “aw shucks, I didn’t know it was you who found me” as off he skipped to try again. Of all the books I’ve read about teen suicide, this was the worst.

My recommendation is not to bother to read it. I’m sorry I wasted my time with it.


One thought on ““The 39 deaths of Adam Strand” Gregory Galloway

  1. I just finished reading the book and didn’t like it. Too many questions about unanswered. I wasn’t really interested in knowing why he wouldn’t die but what happened every time he killed himself.

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