I have posted Chapter 17 and I am dedicating it to the memory of Jamey Rodemeyer.
Jamey, I’m sorry you’ll never have the chance to grow up and read this story or to see how it comes out, but I do want others who read it to know a little of what you experienced in your brief life; and I also want to encourage others who may be experiencing bullying to keep hope alive no matter how dark things may seem. There are people who love you, who want to be part of your life, and who will try to help make it better if you give them the chance and a little bit of time for their better angels to prevail.
I hope this chapter isn’t too harsh. It was tough to write, but for reasons that may not be obvious. The thing is, I didn’t really change anything that was already in it. Except for the spelling and grammatical errors I corrected, this is essentially how the chapter was written before Jamey died. I did think a lot about softening it, but finally decided not to do so. And I did add a few paragraphs at the very end to make explicit what I had originally planned to leave implicit. You’ll know what was added when you read it.
If you think adding those last paragraphs is a mistake, feel free to let me know. I went back and forth on it for a long time and spent a lot of time writing and rewriting those paragraphs. I wasn’t trying to write a lot of words, just the right words. I worked on them up until I posted the chapter and I wish I could have done better. But for now, at least, they’re the best I can do.
As always, feel free to post any comment you have after the chapter. And if it feels right to you, you can also tell Jamey’s family what a difference he’s making.