Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It
In her introduction, Hecht reveals that she wrote this book because several of her friends committed suicide. With that tragic inspiration, it makes perfect sense that her argument is strongly anti-suicide, and she is very upfront about this. At one point, she even breaks from a reasoned discussion to offer a heartfelt plea begging the reader to keep living. Her passion is intensely powerful.
Still, despite her position on suicide, she provides a very balanced and thorough overview of how Western history has dealt with the issue. She does fully explore philosophies that support suicide, and that makes her argument better. She gives the evidence for both sides, and the reasons why suicide is wrong are simply stronger. Her book speaks very clearly to both the logical and emotional sides of its readers.
Because of its position, and the wonderful, thoughtful, compassionate way it’s presented, this book is extremely important. Hecht’s argument that simply staying alive is incredibly helpful to those you love and those you don’t even know is tremendously persuasive. Everybody should read this, and hopefully, those who need it can find the courage to keep going. I honestly believe Stay is a convincing and powerful enough book to help people when they need it the most.
Jennifer Michael Hecht
Yale University Press