Author: Fiona Robyn
Published: January 1st 2010 by Snowbooks (First published November 1st 2009)
Ruth is thirty-two. And she gave herself three months to decide if she wants to continue living. As she considers between life and death, she keeps a journal. A page for each day and she intends on filling both sides. During that duration, she starts to form more relationships with the people around her. She tries out new things because what is there to lose? After all she assures herself that she has only three months to live.
Until Red. Ruth saw an advertisement in the papers about a portrait artist and she decided to get her portrait done. Only thing is: Red paints the soul, not the person. The deal was that Ruth will go to his place to sit for him twice a week for six weeks and before the end of six weeks, they were already falling for each other and Red asked to paint another portrait for her. As the deadline approaches, Ruth becomes more depressed and confused. Caught between living and dying, what is it that will tip the scales?
Thaw is a very heart wrenching and thought provoking book. There is no prince in shining armor. There is probably no happy-ever-afters either. All there is is a life of Ruth, depressed, suicidal and afraid. I knew that Ruth was suicidal from the beginning of the book, but what I didn’t realize is that she was hollow on the inside as well. I feel that she started to really live on the day she made the decision to give herself three months to see if she wanted to live or commit suicide. As the days go by and the end of three months approaches, I see her having fun, feeling happy and getting depressed and hurting herself over and over again. I cried a few times when I read about the days when she tries to explain her feelings, the hurt and loneliness overflowing in her. I felt the pain she felt that led her to cutting herself but I felt sad and pained for her sake when she feels nothing as she cut herself.
Truth to be told, I can totally understand how she is socially awkward in public and can’t open up to even her close friend, Zoe. But as the story progresses, Ruth continues to grow to become more independent and confident. She learns to speak her thoughts and be honest and not to put on a facade. She learns to trust again. I felt really sorry about her past, she had to face the death of her mother and the avoidance of her father who was supposed to be there for her. She had to grow up before her time, which was a very sad thing.
Fiona Robyn depicts Ruth in such a real person that everyone can relate to. She creates such a complex character and she delves deep into the soul and the heart of Ruth to tell the readers of all her thoughts and what she feels. She explains the complexity that is Ruth so effortlessly which encourages us to go ahead and understand Ruth, to be her friend and to stand by her as she makes all the decisions she has had to make in the three months. Fiona Robyn gave us a glimpse into the soul of Ruth. I also love Fiona Robyn’s insight of the photographs that Ruth loves to study and imagine about one at a time.
As I was reading this book, a line from a song keeps playing itself again and again in my mind:
“Just give me a reason, to keep my heart beating”
-The Beginning by One OK Rock
I find that it’s a suitable line which describes Ruth’s three months. She’s had a lot of reasons to continue living but she hasn’t found the one that really made an impact in her very being. Until she sees the second portrait of herself by Red. Although the ending is quite vague, I believe that she made the choice meant for her since the very beginning.