Now here is a take on survival that I hadn't ever encountered. What if you wanted to kill yourself, only to be presented with a situation where you are forced to survive in order to save someone else?
This is the story of Jane, who jokes about killing herself. She comes from a family of suicides; her grandparents killed themselves, her father killed himself, and now she decides it's time for her to kill herself. Even after a stint in a rehab facility for those who have unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide, she is undaunted. She has calculated this and she is determined. While on a plane heading back to visit her mother, she goes into the small lavatory armed with pills and cold medicine. But before she can swallow, the plane crashes, and ironically it is the small closet of a bathroom that stays intact. She survives the crash, along with Paul, the passenger who was seated next to her.
After the crash, they have to survive climbing over a mountain to get to safety. It isn't easy, and the book doesn't make it seem easy. But it also doesn't overemphasize the nature of the disaster. They are probably not going to live through the snow and cold and dangers. They need to get lucky, and they need to be smart.
And they are smart, for the most part. The book is much more about the mental game of survival than the physical one. It is much more a journey of how Jane and Paul manage to view the experience through their own past challenges and faults. Some of it may seem unrealistic, but then again, desperate people do desperate things, even silly emotional things. When you're not sure you're going to live through something, I am quite certain that we do things we would not otherwise do.
This story is brief and that's good, because it isn't some sort of black hole of despair, as some accounts of these sorts of journeys are. It is to the point, honest, straightforward. It is what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything else. The aspect of depression is not at the forefront of this story. Rather, it is simply one of, well, survival - in a broad sense. Of course there are more riveting stories of managing to stay alive despite plane crashes on snow-covered mountains, with injuries and starvation and the usual problems. This is not one of those stories. It is simply a study in what it means to want to stay alive. What things are worth living for?
Its title is fitting. It is well-written, well-paced, and overall a very good book.