Save Yourself by Kelly Braffet

Mike’s review

“The loud and angry [music] was a nice antidote to the quiet and bright and made him feel more him, as if […] he could broadcast this little piece of his soul to every poor schmuck who came through the door […]. It got people’s attention, reminding them that the world was real, that it was alive.” Yep, pretty much spot-on description of playing yourself at top volume while working at a convenience store.

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Plot summary: It’s basically a two people meet story. Layla’s a sixteen year old girl. Patrick is a twenty-six-or-five year old guy. Patrick’s dad was a drunk who drunk drove killed a kid and Layla’s dad was in part responsible for the father’s persecution and also Patrick’s persecution because he didn’t call the cops on his dad immediately. I already feel like I’m failing at this. Trying to create a plot where it doesn’t really need to exist. Anyways.

So, basically, these two people meet, but they each have a sibling that comes along for the ride as well. Which matters in the story, but I won’t really go into here.

Patrick is pretty much bummed all the time because his life sucks, he’s pretty close to being a drunk and his brother may hate him for finally calling the cops on his father. Layla is involved in her boyfriend’s (loosely used there) cult of personality.

They try to save themselves or each other, they’re not really sure.

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“kids were small and vulnerable and you could hurt them without even meaning to. You could hurt them just by being who you were. You could hurt them with your genes, your very DNA.”

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It’s probably relevant that it’s a female author with a broken male lead and a (mostly) strong female lead for once. Usually every gender in that last sentence is reversed. Most relevant is I didn’t really pick up on this until page 185.

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It’s probably impossible to write upset female without her seeming bitchy because Patrick was an ass after blowjob and still Layla seemed to sorta freak out. This is a social thing, not a Braffet thing.

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The ritualistic cutting/pain is perfect. Terrifying without belittling or condescending. Something which should be impossible to pull off–giving me Layla’s need and Patrick’s repulsion concurrently–and Braffet fucking nails it.

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Gender roles: He takes the harsh chemical shower after sex.

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“‘I love you,’ he said.

‘You can’t possibly…because there’s nothing to love.'”

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