Suicide and The Golden Gate Bridge: Background information when reading Orientation

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Orientation

And Other Stories

by Daniel Orozco

Orientation by Daniel Orozco X
Orientation by Daniel Orozco
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2011, 176 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2012, 176 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie
Buy This Book

About this Book

Suicide and The Golden Gate Bridge

This article relates to Orientation

Print Review

In the story "The Bridge" from Daniel Orozco's collection of short stories Orientation, one man is traumatized when he witnesses a woman commit suicide by jumping from the bridge he's employed to paint. Though the story is fictional, suicide jumping is an all too frequent occurrence in real life. The Golden Gate Bridge, located in San Francisco, California, holds the macabre record for being the world's most popular suicide point, with an estimated 1,550 deaths having occurred at the national landmark. Golden Gate Bridge The pedestrian walkway stands approximately 220 feet above the San Francisco Bay, and, according to an article in The New Yorker (2003), "Jumpers who hit the water do so at about seventy-five miles an hour and with a force of fifteen thousand pounds per square inch. Eighty-five per cent of them suffer broken ribs, which rip inward and tear through the spleen, the lungs, and the heart... Those who survive the impact usually die soon afterward. If they go straight in, they plunge so deeply into the water, which reaches a depth of three hundred and fifty feet, that they drown."

Erecting a preventative barrier on the bridge (above the 4-foot railing currently in place) has been debated since the 1950s and has produced many passionate arguments from people on both sides. While those in favor of the barrier claim that it would save dozens of lives every year, those against it often argue that it would be costly, would diminish the magnificence of the landmark, or that the barrier would not actually prevent suicidal people from hurting themselves, that they would merely find another way to do it.

However, in February 2010, a preferred alternative plan was finally approved: to install a Net System under the bridge to effectively catch suicide jumpers, estimated to cost $45 million. Until the system is put in place, crisis counseling telephones and organized patrols are still available, which, according to the Golden Gate Bridge Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project, have prevented about 70 percent of total attempted suicides.

In 2004, filmmaker Eric Steel made a documentary entitled The Bridge (released in 2006), in which he documents - and in many cases films - each suicide that occurred that year and interviews mental health professionals, witnesses, and the family members left behind. While receiving both praise for its honesty and criticism for its sensationalism, some people such as Celia Kupersmith, CEO of the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, fear that the film will inspire copycat jumpers, an all too common phenomenon. You can watch the trailer for the film below.


If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Photo by Rich Niewiroski Jr.

Filed under Cultural Curiosities

Article by Stacey Brownlie

This "beyond the book article" relates to Orientation. It originally ran in June 2011 and has been updated for the May 2012 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Once There Were Wolves
    Once There Were Wolves
    by Charlotte McConaghy
    In Charlotte McConaghy's second novel after her debut Migrations, environmental biologist Inti Flynn...
  • Book Jacket: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
    by Alka Joshi
    Alka Joshi's The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is the sequel to her 2020 bestseller The Henna Artist and ...
  • Book Jacket: Seek You
    Seek You
    by Kristen Radtke
    In the first pages of Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke's sophomore ...
  • Book Jacket: The Man Who Hated Women
    The Man Who Hated Women
    by Amy Sohn
    If debates over women's reproductive health seem stuck in an earlier era — the fact that birth...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Lost Notebook of Edouard Manet
    by Maureen Gibbon

    A sensual portrait of Manet's last years, and a vibrant testament of the artistic spirit.

  • Book Jacket

    Never Saw Me Coming
    by Vera Kurian

    "Fun, entertaining and hard to put down."
    —The New York Journal of Books

Who Said...

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Pull Y U B T B

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.