BookBrowse Reviews What I Was by Meg Rosoff

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

What I Was

by Meg Rosoff

What I Was
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2008, 224 pages
    Jan 2009, 224 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Lucia Silva

Buy This Book

About this Book



Rosoff captures the rush and the cruelty of adolescent desire and the imprint it leaves on a person

After Meg Rosoff's much-loved How I Live Now defied its YA category and made its way onto adult shelves to much critical acclaim, What I Was is her first novel to be packaged as an adult book. The story is simple but compelling: a 16-year-old boarding school boy happens upon the mysterious young Finn who lives alone in a shack by the sea. The protagonist becomes utterly obsessed with Finn, wants to be him so badly that it reads like love – that rare and singular kind of platonic first-love that exhibits more as self-love, as the desire to be the object rather than possess it. Coming-of-age is Rosoff's territory, but too much of this one doesn't ring true. The extreme tenderness and depth of H's ...

About the Author

Meg Rosoff was born in Boston, in 1956, the second of four sisters, grew up in the Boston suburbs, went to "ordinary suburban schools" and then to Harvard. After three years of thinking ‘I’ve got to get out of here’, she packed a bag and got on a plane for London where she applied and was accepted to art college to study sculpture. She says that art school was a disaster, "I was obviously a writer not a sculptor, but I didn’t know that then .... but the rest of the year was a revelation. There was an unbelievable amount of fun to be had in London in 1977-78. I’m still reeling."

Eventually she returned to the US and finished her degree, then moved to New ...

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and "beyond the book" articles are part of the many benefits of membership and, thus, are generally only available to subscribers, including individual members and patrons of libraries that subscribe.

Join Today

Member Login

Library Patrons

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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 books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.