2) My sister is my best friend. What other woman would tell me, “Your butt looks cute in those jeans”?
3) General announcement to the world: People, put down your cell phones long enough to listen. I need you to hear me: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ANSWER YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU’RE USING THE RESTROOM. NO, REALLY! YOU CAN LET IT GO TO VOICE MAIL. THE CALLER WON’T MIND. AND WE, THE REST OF THE WORLD WHO MUST SOMETIMES USE PUBLIC RESTROOMS, WON’T HAVE TO SILENTLY CURSE YOUR ASSEDNESS. (Heh. aprilhenry was talking about half-assedness in a post yesterday. I like the word.) I know that you, my LJ friends, certainly do not engage in this appalling activity. But thanks for listening.
4) I read Sara Zarr’s SWEETHEARTS, and loved it!!! I don’t think I’ve ever read another book that is so purely about friendship as this one. But that little sound bite makes the book sound flat, and it’s not. The main character, Jennifer, has remade herself from a chubby, lonely little girl into Jenna, a slim teen with lots of friends and a great boyfriend. Outwardly, her life is perfect. But when her childhood friend, Cameron, shows up out of nowhere, pieces of Jennifer intrude into Jenna’s perfect life. I particularly loved the stepfather in this story … he’s the polar opposite of the father in STORY OF A GIRL. And there’s a childhood event told in flashbacks that had me holding my breath in places.
5) I’m so proud of Jay Asher. I don’t know him, but I’m still proud of him. I admit, I didn’t rush to read his book, THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. A novel about a girl who commits suicide, leaving behind audio tapes that explain why? *shivers*
But all the reviews of his book reinforced my decision to read it and I’m glad I did. I will never forget these characters. The momentum of the plot is relentless … the dark depths of Hannah’s soul are sensitively explored … and the feelings of grief and anger felt by the main character, Clay, are so true that you feel like you’ve lived through the tragedy with him.
I “read” the book by listening to it in audiobook format. If you haven’t read it yet, and you plan to … I strongly recommend the audiobook. Listening to the characters’ voices in your own head – exactly as Clay listens to Hannah’s tapes – creates a haunting intimacy.
I listened to THIRTEEN REASONS WHY on my way to and from work. I found myself wanting to keep listening sometimes when I reached my destination … but I also found that I needed the natural breaks that were forced by my commute. The book is a masterpiece, but there’s no escaping the fact that its subject matter is disturbing. Yesterday evening when I got home, I was near the end of the book, so I brought the last CD in the house. I wanted to finish the story. And I couldn’t face the morning drive knowing how near the end – Hannah’s end – I was.
Like Clay, I kept wanting the story to have a different ending. It doesn’t. It cannot. But there are elements of hope and beauty in the last lines.
Sometimes, as writers, we read books and think, “I could write something like that.” This book is not one I could have written … but I’m very glad that Jay did.
P.S. I didn’t get to read MY LIFE AS A RHOMBUS yet. I was wooed away from it by a bonny Highlander who held me in thrall – yes, I’ve returned to Jamie and his Claire, the fourth book in the OUTLANDER series. Aye, I have, and glad that I am.