Title: 10 Things to Do Before I Die.
Author: Daniel Ehrenhaft.
Genre: Fiction, YA, teen, humour, romance.
Publication Date: 2004.
Summary: Ted Burger's friends Mark and Nikki counsel him to step outside his usual pattern of cautious behavior. Suddenly, a recently fired fry cook bursts in and threatens mayhem. No sooner does Ted get home than he is told that the crazed cook has poisoned him, and he has just 24 hours to live. Rather than seeking medical attention, he decides to tackle the list of adventures his friends have devised for him, including liberal doses of alcohol and sex, taking on a bully from his past, and partying with the punk-rock band he worships.
My rating: 6/10
♥ "What's the problem, Burger?" Mark asks. "Don't you wanna get laid?"
"Of course I want to get laid! That's not the point!" I take a deep breath, struggling to calm myself. "I'm just... Listen, I appreciate what you're trying to do here. Really. And I'm sorry if - you know - money has changed hands or whatever. But I'm not gonna do this. That's all there is to it."
Mark looks baffled. "Why not?"
I frown at him. I don't even know where to start. Gee, Mark: because hiring a complete stranger to have sex with is wrong, maybe? Because the whole idea behind businesses like Showgirl Escorts!!!™ is utterly sordid - evil and exploitative for a thousand different reasons? Because the first time you have sex, it should be with somebody you love, with somebody you trust (or at the very least, with somebody you know), and it should be a Pure act... yes, Pure with a capital P, because sex is the Pure act, the ultimate expression of intimacy and -
"Because maybe Ted doesn't want to lose his virginity to a hooker!" Niki yells.
♥ Consider the fortune I received on my sixteenth birthday (ironically, my last birthday ever, although I didn't know it at the time) when my parents took me to the Hong Phat Noodle House - and I swear I am not making this up:
You will never have much of a future if you look for it in a cookie at a Chinese Restaurant. :)
♥ "So Mark told him that maybe he should get a pet. You know, like a big furry dog, and they could play together, and go on long walks, and become best buddies. He thought this was really funny. He was like, 'I already have a crazy son. Isn't that enough?' And Mark was like, 'But pets are nice.' And he said, 'Son, you know, you're right. Pets are nice. People are dogs.'"
♥ I use the walls as a crutch. And in the process, something else extraordinary happens. Somehow I manage to see those walls for the first time. I really, truly observe the walls of the Burger family apartment. Framed photos are everywhere, like a plague: dozens of them, hundreds, maybe even thousands. It's just...
I've never noticed them before. Not like this. I mean, how often do you really take a good, objective look at your own home? How often do you step back and soak in the place you've lived your entire life? But death has given me a new perspective. If I felt my life flashing before my eyes back at the diner, when Leo pulled the water gun, well, now it's happening outside my mind and in real time. My life is literally flashing before my eyes. Frame by frame.
♥ "Mark has this incredible faith that something amazing is always just around the bend. And because he believes it, it's true. Mark makes amazing stuff happen. He affects the world! But I'm the opposite. The world affects me. So I wanted to change it up."
♥ So say, for example, that you're a chickenhearted, self-absorbed clown (among other things) and you believe you're going to die... An unconscious state might trigger guilty visions of your own funeral. Yes? Maybe?
This is just a guess.
♥ "He made me realize that you don't have to do a bunch of crazy stuff to make your life complete. You just have to DEAL with life. You have to hang out with the people you love and not BS them. And if more people were like Mark, I personally think we'd be a lot better off. Then maybe we could start seeing the important stuff."
♥ But you can't impose order on the chaos. You can't divide it up. Reality isn't like that. Reality isn't neat. It comes as it comes, in a great roar - not in lists and footnotes and chapters, but in real time. There's no way to divide it up, no way to keep it at a safe distance no matter how hard you try. Sure, you can hole up in your room and fantasize about being in your favorite band. Sure, you can pretend that you have a good relationship with a nice, beautiful girl even though you don't. You can even go for years without communicating with your parents; you can even lust after you best friend's girlfriend - and hate yourself for it because you love your best friend... But you can't hide. Sooner or later, reality will catch up with you. It always does.