Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why Suicide?

My latest novel, Try Not to Breathe, is about a boy recovering from a suicide attempt. The main character also befriends a girl who is seeking answers about her father’s suicide. While I certainly tried to make the book as realistic as possible, it is still a novel, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to discuss a nonfiction resource about the topic of suicide.

Upon hearing about my novel, Eric Marcus kindly offered me a copy of his nonfiction book Why Suicide?: Questions & Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know. The book’s approach is described by the author in the introduction: “I don’t pretend to be an expert on the subject of suicide. And I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker. I’m a journalist by training.” True to that journalistic method, the book provides facts and statistics, mixed with a wealth of interview quotes from individuals who have experienced the suicide of a loved one. Eric Marcus is also candid about the incident in his own life that sparked his original interest in this topic: the suicide of his father.

Why Suicide? opens with chapters that cover a wide range of basic data. These are followed by chapters that focus on topics such as teen and youth suicide; suicide among the elderly; and suicide prevention. The appendix contains suicide-prevention resources.

The book, formatted in Q&A fashion, was initially intended to be, in the author’s words, “the kind of book that would have enabled my family to help me cope with the circumstances of my father’s death” and “a broad resource for anyone whose life has been touched by suicide.” I find that, in addition, it can serve as a general resource for writers or readers who seek both hard numbers and personal stories. The book honors the fact that there is no single true story of suicide, no one way to deal with it. It also offers hope.

One additional resource: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273-TALK.


  1. What a fantastic resource for your story and for those dealing with this tragedy.

  2. It sounds like a great resource for those who knew someone who committed suicide, and for writers as well.

    Thank you for the post!

  3. Suicide is so tragic and sad on all fronts. This sounds like an amazing resource, especially since it offers hope. Thanks for this.