Being a hopeless romantic has its downsides pretty often. Yes, I could pick up any Nicholas Sparks book and probably be content with the forever love all those characters seem to get, but its hard reading stories or watching movies were love doesn't win.
Four books and/or movies come to mind. (Note: I do dearly love some of these, while other ruffle my wings.) Also, mental health is a serious issue and should be treated properly.
1. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
It obviously has quite the hype these days, with people going on and on about how it really opened their mind. For me? Well, that's a different story. I was a seventh grader when I actually read the book and to be perfectly honest, it scarred me. But that, of course, is besides the point.
The point is- love couldn't save Hannah Baker. No matter how much happiness Clay brought Hannah, it was never enough. It's scary to think that Clay loved her and had no idea all of this was going on in her head. My little hopeless romantic seventh grade heart hoped that Hannah wasn't actually dead and that she would appear at the end. That was the first time my heart was crushed reading a book. There wasn't a happily-ever-after or even closure.
Years later, watching the show, it brought back sick feelings toward the romance. Hannah Baker, who was truly loved by Clay and her parents, still chose death by suicide.
Love couldn't save Hannah Baker and that damaged me.
2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Skip ahead a year, and I was an eighth grader hoping I could find happiness in the next popular author. This man was John Green. I had read The Fault in Our Stars and was surprisingly content with the ending. They had loved each other and although Gus evidently died, love still won.
I hoping the same for Looking for Alaska, right? Well, I was quite wrong. The thing about me is I can't really judge a book by its cover, well because I don't read the cover. I hate reading synopsis because they give too much away. So here I was, 14, opening a book I had absolutely no previous knowledge about.
The book counts down on its pages, leading you towards something. The Hopeless Romantic in me hoped it would be the first time Miles, the main character, and Alaska Young, the love interest, would kiss or confess their love for each other. I was right, right? WRONG!
Right before the counting down comes to an end (about in the middle of the book), Miles admits to himself that he is falling in love with Alaska. Then a few pages later, an intoxicated Alaska flirts with Miles.
I was thinking this was it, once the counting down ends, they can be together. My heart again was damaged when I found out Alaska had been in a fatal car crash.
Whether or not she chose to kill herself because of her blame or because she was behind the wheel intoxicated, it left a dent in my heart.
John Green, a romance author, killed my hope that everything would be okay. By the end of the book, Miles lets her go. And like Miles, I had to let go of my foundation that love always wins.
3. Me before You by Jojo Moyes
This is the movie I am most conflicted about in this list of heartbreaking films/books and you will see why.
I did not read the book to begin with. Someone had spoiled the story for me and I was mortified with the ending.
So there I was, last Tuesday night, trying to pick a movie to watch. I decided to give Me Before You a whirl and see if I would actually enjoy it. Boy, was I wrong.
It was a tragic movie. The main character, Will Traynor, was in a horrible motorcycle accident leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. A hopeful Louisa Clark comes into play to take care of Will.
Sure enough, they fall in love. Had I not had any spoilers prior to watching it, I would have thought Louisa's love would be enough for him, that the scar on his wrist would be a reminder of how far he had come.
But sadly enough, he still commits death by suicide. I was broken. He told her that this life was not his and he didn't feel the need to keep living. It was horrifying to watch that scene play on because deep down I wanted her love to be enough. I wanted him to realize she was worth living for.
But here is why I am conflicted. Do I scream and say that her love wasn't enough for him or do I appreciate the fact that she loved him so much, she was willing to let him go? In my perfect world, they both would have lived and learned to love as they already had.
Again, love didn't necessarily win.
4. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Lastly, I have this heavy book. A few people had hyped it up for me and thought I would really enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, it was an incredible book and very well written, but I don't think enjoy would be the word to use.
All the Bright Places is a "love story" between main characters Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. They decide to visit all the bright places within Indiana together.
Love was undeniable between them, but also the depression that ate away at Finch. Violet did everything in her power to keep Finch from slipping, but in the end he does anyway.
He leaves her behind and like all the other pieces, dies by suicide.
Love couldn't save Finch even when he admitted he had everything he wanted. He had the love he craved to have, but it still didn't change anything.
So here I am, having watched and read so many books where the love meets its demise. Mental health is a major problem in the world, specifically in the United States.
In the United States alone, depression affects 1 in 10 people. Over 80% of people with clinical depression do not receive help or treatment. Further, each year depression climbs 20%.
Along the lines of depression, suicide rates are also increasing. Annually, about 44,000 people die by suicide. Daily, about 120. Suicide attempts are also growing. afsp.org reported more than 490,000 people were admitted into hospitals across the nation due to self-harm.
Yes, the hopeless romantic in me wanted all those stories to have happy endings and love to be enough, but the books/films did their justice in bringing awareness to depression and mental health.
These books broke me, but I learned from them. So, love can't always heal, but it can try.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255