Worldwide, more people die by suicide than by murder, and many more are left behind to grieve. Despite distressing statistics that show suicide rates rising, the subject, long a taboo, is infrequently talked about. In this sweeping intellectual and cultural history, poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht channels her grief for two friends lost to suicide into a search for history’s most persuasive arguments against the irretrievable act, arguments she hopes to bring back into public consciousness.
From the Stoics and the Bible to Dante, Shakespeare, Wittgenstein, and such 20th-century writers as John Berryman, Hecht recasts the narrative of our “secular age” in new terms. She shows how religious prohibitions against self-killing were replaced by the Enlightenment’s insistence on the rights of the individual, even when those rights had troubling applications. This transition, she movingly argues, resulted in a profound cultural and moral loss: the loss of shared, secular, logical arguments against suicide. By examining how people in other times have found powerful reasons to stay alive when suicide seems a tempting choice, she makes a persuasive intellectual and moral case against suicide.
©2013 Jennifer Michael Hecht (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
In the introduction to Stay, the author notes that she has lost several close friends and fellow writers to suicide. She then argues why we have an obligation to stay. Powerful stuff. What follows after though is an oddly dispassionate and encyclopedic progression through historical justifications for and mostly against suicide. Some of this is interesting from a philosophical and sociological perspective but neither is it necessarily very persuasive. What seemed lacking, given the intro and the author's firm belief that we owe it to ourselves and others to live, is that she fails to engage the reader at an emotional level by bringing in any contemporary or personal connections. Still, I would say that Stay is a worthwhile read but more for those with an interest in the evolution of western society's mores toward it than a book that will convince anyone to come down from the ledge.
Greetings. My brother introduced me to Audible in 2011. Since, nothing but enjoyment. Hopefully my reviews are very useful to you. Enjoy!
At first I was fearful of getting this book from fear of it coming from a dark place than could be mood altering. That was not the case. The narrator voice is a pleasure to hear and yet captures the intensity that's needed for the subject manner.
None I've had before.
No I have not.
I didn't but it raised my awareness of an epidemic that I was completely unaware of.
No matter how determined you are to live until a greater being takes us away it is important to get this useful info that could possible help someone else's life. Provides a chronological picture of the evolution of suicide.
The narration is absolutely terrible in my opinion. She delivers the lines without any emotion or deflection in tone, leaving it very dry and dispassionate. I honestly became more depressed by listening to this book as the delivery is that melancholy.
I was also let down by the story. As I was expecting a full spectrum history on suicide, it is more solely focused on BC and early AD times with the respective philosophers and religions of that era. Unfortunately, very little is left to describe any modern day history. Point being, other than a history lesson, the author provides no substance to help you understand the reasons behind modern day suicide.
I would say the best parts of the book are the beginning, and towards the end. The prequel provides the authors reason for writing the book which is heartfelt and passionate, helping you to identify with the story. Towards the end, the author offers some interesting statistics, not just standard numbers, but the actual effect that happens to those left behind after suicide.
I would not recommend this book.
A rational look at the philosophy of suicide, statistics; a well spoken, articulate, wise, and generous book for those who have contemplated suicide or have known someone who has committed suicide. This is not a sappy self-help book, but a philosophical survey and a brilliant, articulate plea for understanding the arguments--beautifully read by the author. I didn't think anyone could make me change my mind about this controversial topic, but Hecht's put a few holes in my thinking. This is an impressive and necessary work. There's nothing else like it out there.
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