Title: 6 Seconds of Life
Author: Tonya Fitzharris
Date Published: 9/1/12
Maura has just jumped.
Now she has precisely six seconds until she hits the water below her—just six more seconds until she is finally freed from her mundane and aimless existence. Freed of all of the regrets and disappointments that have haunted her throughout her nineteen years.
She just needs to be free.
But as she falls, the most pivotal points of her life start to replay like a movie in her head: her family falling apart, her first love, her first heartbreak, her first true friends, and her first betrayal. As she remembers these moments that brought her to this point, will she feel a sense of peace? Or will her death be her greatest regret?
Read an excerpt:
I think deep down, I’ve always known it was going to end this way. I was never meant to live a long life. I accepted this fate a long time ago. I was just waiting for the right moment.
I wanted to fall in love first.
I wanted to experience what it was like to have a real family first.
I wanted to know what it was like to be sincerely happy, even if it was short-lived.
I got all of those firsts.
And now I’m ready to move forward.
I inch my feet closer to the open sky. And closer. Until my naked toes are peeking over the edge. The water cracks violently below me, begging for me to join in on all of the fun.
Just a few more seconds before it’s all over.
Until I’m free.
I’m totally relaxed. This moment, it’s all mine. No one can take it away from me.
I close my eyes. The sounds of high heels clicking on the walkway and cameras snapping and preserving memories and street musicians begging for spare change surround me. I breathe in their music and let it be the soundtrack to the closing credits of my life.
I raise my arms up to my side, reaching for the skies that surround me.
And I step into the air.
I’m flying now.**My thoughts**
It takes six seconds to fall from the bridge ledge to certain death below. They always say that your life passes before your eyes just before you die. Maura's story takes you on that six second journey, slowed down just enough for you to get caught up.
This book is absolutely heartbreaking. Maura's home life sucks. Her father is an ex-NFL star who has a Super Bowl ring and chronically cheats on her mother. Her mother has become a shell of her former self as she tries to hold the family together. Maura is a natural-born emotional kid who is going to be more susceptible to life's roller coaster.
Her parents sort of try to help her, as they force her into therapy and she even tries taking some medication to balance out her brain. Somehow, though, they just don't get it and are too wrapped up in their own lives and desires to pay enough attention to what is really happening to her. Her life quickly spirals out of control and she feels like she has no other options. She is failed by everyone she knows. During her descent, she begins to wonder if she could have changed things. I have often wondered if people have a sudden change of heart in those final few seconds as they fall.
This book is going to strike a chord with anyone who has ever felt lost or dealt with depression. You may find yourself in Maura's shoes, remembering how difficult it was for you during those times. The difference is, you are here, having chosen an alternate method of coping. (And please, if you are still feeling that loss or depression, seek some help and do not think of mimicking Maura.)
I would also hope that this book serves as a wake-up call to anyone who deals with teenagers, whether on a professional or personal basis. Pay attention to what is going on in their lives. Don't just tell them that they need to buck up and make some friends. Be sensitive to how they are feeling and give them the tools to build up their self-esteem and move on. We are in the middle of a time where so many bullied children feel that suicide is the way out. And yes, Maura is bullied, even though she is in college. The events that send her over the edge are inexcusable, no matter how old or young you are.
It appears that this book is based on a true story. May the real "Maura" rest in peace. May those "Mauras" who walk among us find peace here on Earth.
Tonya Fitzharris is a writer, reader, blogger, mediocre cook, photographer, runner, Florida native, and cat lover. She used to be a Middle School English Teacher, but now she's trying out the whole novel writing thing. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and her Belgian cat named Waffles.
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