Help! I’m Alive

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Pub Date May 10 2022 | Archive Date Jan 04 2022

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Description

A powerfully emotional story of four people touched by a teen’s death, award-winning author Gurjinder Basran’s Help! I’m Alive is a clear-eyed exploration of meaningful connection in the modern era.


After video footage of Jay’s death is shared on social media, a suburban Vancouver community is left to try to make sense of what happened to Jay and whether his death was an accident or a suicide.


Help! I’m Alive explores the aftermath through the eyes of four people all suddenly confronted with who they have been and how they should be in the wake of such loss. Jay’s former best friend, Ash, wonders what happened to their friendship and questions the relationships he has now; Winona, Jay’s troubled girlfriend struggles with guilt and abandonment; Anik, Ash’s older brother, is on a search for the meaning of life but hasn’t left his basement apartment in months; and Pavan, Ash and Anik’s mother, finds Jay’s death lays bare all her personal and maternal anxieties.


Unflinching but life-affirming, Help! I’m Alive is a Gen Z and Gen X coming-to-terms story about loneliness and connection, love and suffering, and the moments that bring us together and drive us apart.

A powerfully emotional story of four people touched by a teen’s death, award-winning author Gurjinder Basran’s Help! I’m Alive is a clear-eyed exploration of meaningful connection in the modern era.


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ISBN 9781770416307
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Featured Reviews

Help! I’m Alive by Gurjinder Basran is a most impressive book. It explores the impact that a young man’s suicide has on those left behind. Whilst this is undoubtedly a difficult subject, Basran handles it with great care, respect and empathy.

It is worth noting outright that in addition to dealing with the theme of suicide this book contains references to depression, disordered eating, self harm, some drug usage and one character’s experiences of transphobia.

Help! I’m Alive begins with the suicide of a teenager named Jay, which was filmed but then since taken down from the platforms it had been shown on. The novel is written in the third person covering four different perspectives, Ash - Jay’s once best friend, Winona - Jay’s all but girlfriend, Anik - Ash’s older brother and Pavan - Ash and Jay’s mother. In each case they are trying to continue living in the aftermath of this tragedy and figure out what this means.

I thought the multiple perspectives was a master stroke. The way Basran wove together the four different individual’s lives and their reactions to Jay’s passing was really very special. They each felt their own feelings, their own grief, confusion and each had they own journey to go on, in some cases literal as well as metaphorical. I don’t want to say to much about this as I think the story deserves to be read without too much being given away.

Whilst this book is about living in the aftermath of death, particularly suicide Basran is never preaching. She isn’t telling you how to feel or how you should react. There are no rights or wrongs here, the characters are all trying to find their own way. They are all flawed, but they are all very very human and isn’t that the point?

This is a special book. It’s subject matter is difficult, but it is handled deftly. It is a book that makes you reflect. It will not be for everyone but for those who wish to read it I don’t doubt that they’ll get a lot from it.

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I was given this book for free in return for an honest review. This was an emotionally difficult book to read, but it was written sensitively, with compassion. I took my time in places, needing to have a break and a good cry. It is so well written, I felt I was in the story and I thought it is a book that should come with a warning, it’s that well written. I’d recommend this to anyone who has an interest in mental health.

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