"What I do, it's personal. I take responsibility for it. It's me. It ain't some hormones or rite of passage or mass hysteria. I don't fucking cry abou"What I do, it's personal. I take responsibility for it. It's me. It ain't some hormones or rite of passage or mass hysteria. I don't fucking cry about it in the morning."
I am asexual. For those unfamiliar with the term, that means I do not experience sexual attraction to any gender. When puberty struck, and according to my Sex Ed knowledge it is the time when you start 'noticing' members of your preferred gender, I remained unchanged. Certain body parts started growing/changing, but I was not far from childhood where random growth spurts were not unusual. The biggest shock during this time was waking up one morning to find the inside of my pajama bottoms a bloody mess. But even then that was something I knew was going to come sooner or later and I was only glad this significant event happened to me before me younger sister (who was already taller than me by that time and would have gloated about it).
Anyways, the point of all that is that I almost felt like I understood Lumen. During puberty all her peers go wild during the full moon, engaging in violent and sexual acts, or both at once. Lumen prides herself on the idea that she would never feel the biological urge to join them. Because her mother supposedly never did, because she's special. She does eventually though, but it affects her differently. She acts more subdued than her friends dying the full moon and sometimes acts out in between.
This book is very wordy and beautifully written, but I'm not sure I understood the point the author was trying to make. The metaphors were too abstract or too subtle for me to keep up with. With my own mostly uneventful puberty, I could kind of relate to Lumen. But often her thoughts would veer off into philosophical tangents that left me tired of her introspection. For example, a few of these passages were about the meaning of her name, how lumen means light and space and holes and tubes and a mathematical equation... I just didn't care after a while. My name is a feminine form of a name that means "manly". The meaning of names mean absolutely nothing. I didn't care.
When We Were Animals is a book metaphorically about a girl's puberty, written by a man. He is a good writer, but the subject matter is not his to write. He cannot possibly fathom what a girl's experiences and feelings are during this time are like, and it shows. Certain parts were trivialized, and others just plain inaccurate. And again, I find myself asking, what's the point he's trying to get across? It was like he was bringing up philosophical and moral questions but not attempting to expand on them or answer them in any concise way.
I picked up this book because the premise sounded interesting. And it is, but it doesn't go anywhere beyond that. Perhaps I have read too many young adult dystopian books, but I was expecting the Breaching to be a mystery to solve. What causes it in this small town? Is there a way to stop it? How long has it been happening and why is the town so blasé about it? Has it been studied by doctors/scientists? Some things were briefly touched on, like the girl was was sent away for a year after she first breached and ended up killing herself. But then it was left alone, never mentioned again. I was let down by the end. Elements I wanted to read more deeply into were brushed aside while tangents I could not care for were analyzed to an unbearable degree....more