An Untethered Life
by Donna Roberts
FolioAvenue Publishing Service

"It has to be dark, right? Why else would he kill himself? What horrible things might this journal reveal about my brother?"

Lily Kirkland is just 15 years old when her brother Sebastian commits suicide, an event which sends shockwaves through her life and her family. Lost and looking for guidance, Lily finds a note from Sebastian guiding her to a refuge they shared to get away from the world. Sneaking out of the house, Lily goes to their secret spot and discovers a journal that Sebastian left behind explaining his worldview, his pain, and his commitment to killing himself. In order to try and heal her spirit and also understand a side of her brother she never knew, Lily spends the day with Sebastian’s journal, learning dark family secrets and the depths of how differently she and her brother were treated by their parents. With sardonic wit and a pleading worldview, Sebastian lays his whole life out in the hopes that Lily will forgive his decision.

Sebastian’s character has a painful honesty to it, revealing emotions that those who have ever dealt with depression or the sensation of isolation will reflect upon. Almost the entirety of the book is spent with Lily reading Sebastian’s writing, occasionally pausing to add her own perspective or her own side of the memories. The author paints an unflinching look at the suicidal mind, as Sebastian both pleads for forgiveness for hurting the person he loves most while also meticulously planning his exit. He even goes as far as to create a Top 10 Ways to Die List in order to minimize pain and confusion but also to make his point to the people whom he feels have helped make his life hell. Raw, honest, and powerful, this story is a painful tale of suicide that leaves room for redemption and chronicles the attempts the living must make to keep going in the act's aftermath.

Return to USR Home