Have you ever wondered what words you couldn't live without?
BALLER DETRIMENTAL DISCUSS I KNOW, RIGHT!?
It's hard. This story made me realise how hard lifeHave you ever wondered what words you couldn't live without?
BALLER DETRIMENTAL DISCUSS I KNOW, RIGHT!?
It's hard. This story made me realise how hard life would be without words. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's start at the beginning. This little novel does a few things perfectly.
Firstly: It portrays the very real conflicted feeling a sibling has when a brother or sister is 'different' or 'ill' or 'not normal'. In this case David is 8 years old and is autistic. Catherine is older and isn't autistic. She feel both simultaneously protective or her little brother, and frustrated. On a few occasions she voices that frustration by asking why he can't be 'normal' or ask her if she is okay. However, she learns at a young age that she isn't allowed to voice these feelings out loud because they aren't appropriate and will land you with a trip to a councilor. The balance between outrage and anger towards someone else who would dare take advantage of David, and the very heartfelt feelings of frustration with him herself are beautifully handled. David 'borrows' words from his favourite book and speaks them to Catherine frequently, and whilst their mother doesn't want him to, it becomes clear these words are like a secret language between brother and sister. It is moving, and poignant, and just down right lovely.
Secondly: It presents two characters in this novel that are very much ostracised from typical children's/young adult worlds. I can think of a few examples of autistic characters off the top of my head (Little Pete in Gone, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, The London Eye Mystery), but they still feel few and far between. The character of Jason, however, has a disability that leaves him in wheelchair. He has difficulty controlling his hand/arm movements and he can't speak. He communicates solely through a communication book, a book made up of dozens and dozens of words that he points at to form sentences. Lord does such a glorious job of developing both these characters, they become real. Never for a moment did I read them as 'other'. I got how frustrating it must be for Jason to have such a bland array of words to choose from, and not be able to fully express himself. I understood how scary it must be in David's world to not have people do what they said they would do. They were just really well rounded characters. They never felt for a moment that they had been placed there to make some kind of a point. They were human, and treated as human, and you loved them a little more than the traditional 'normal' humans in there.
There was a really important scene where Catherine draws her and Jason together, only she doesn't draw Jason in his wheelchair. She draws him as able bodied, thinking he would like that. But Jason is really upset at this, because he isn't able bodied, and most likely never will be. I thought this was a really poignant scene, because, how many of us think that those living with disabilities crave to be able bodied? It's this insensitive arrogance that leads us to make silly comments, and assume things about others without actually getting to know them. Jason is absolutely as whole a character as Catherine, wheelchair or no wheelchair. There are other things he can long for and dream of that don't involve him being 'cured'.
But my very favourite part of this novel, was the focus on colour and words. Maybe because I'm an art journaller, but I really get the power that both these things hold. Catherine very literally brings colour to Jason's world. In the form of the colour on his cards, but also in the vibrancy of language. She brings him back to life, a young boy who reveals that he sometimes wishes he was dead.
How could you express yourself if the words you were given were generic and bland and boring? How could you express sarcasm if you couldn't speak? How could you show you were something other than 'happy' 'sad' 'grumpy'? What if you were 'furious' or felt 'neglected'? What if you wanted to be 'pedantic' or 'mischievous'?
I really loved this novel. I'm adding it to my Guided Reading list for Year 8 because I think there is such a wealth of material to pull apart in a classroom. I can't recommend it enough....more
**spoiler alert** What is there to say? I have to teach this every year to Year 11, and I hate it. It's dark, and morbid, and the little glimpse of ho**spoiler alert** What is there to say? I have to teach this every year to Year 11, and I hate it. It's dark, and morbid, and the little glimpse of hope at the end isn't really hope. I find, in general, my 15/16 year olds find it difficult to grasp the idea of appearance vs. reality. They find Francis whiny and self pitying (which, granted, he is), but they also don't give him any credit for the horrors he endures during the war. They can write about PTSD, sure, but they don't actually see the connection between the innocent, awkward boy in Chapter 2 and the broken, bitter man in Chapter 1.
However, personally, my issue with this novel is the ambiguous message it tries to portray on heroism. Namely: Larry LaSalle. You see, I am very aware good people can do bad things, and bad people can do good things. That seems, to me, to be the number one rule in life. But every time I read this novel I am uncomfortable with the moral suggestion that Larry LaSalle is anything other than a pedophile that groomed children. Because that is what he is. His rape of Nicole is simply a physical consequence of what he has been doing at the Wreck Center throughout the whole book. During the conversation with Francis at the end he says, "Does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?" Well, yes. YES IT DOES, LARRY. Because it wasn't just one sin, was it? He liked 'sweet young things', he loved sweet young things. PLURAL. We don't know how many times Larry LaSalle has groomed a young girl to respect and idiolise him, or make a young boy feel worthwhile and special in order to coerce him into allowing him to behave a certain way. We're not talking about a person who made one bad decision amidst an otherwise reputable life. We're talking about a grown man who grooms young children/teenagers so he can force sexual acts on them. There is no moral philosophizing here. Larry LaSalle is a messed up, disgusting human being, who inflicts the most violent and reprehensible act on a young girl. So, no, Cormier. I don't want to get into a debate on what makes someone good/bad/heroic. Because Larry LaSalle is, quite simply, a pedophile. ...more
I love it when it all goes wrong and the heroine is heartbroken and the the hero has to correct his mistake. Considering that is the only thing that eI love it when it all goes wrong and the heroine is heartbroken and the the hero has to correct his mistake. Considering that is the only thing that ever happens in a romance book! Easy to read trash. But I think Christina Lauren do some of the best easy to read trash. So, *shrugs* P.S. Kinda love Whorelow. I email my friends lists of things with links and personal commentary too. Hotels, places to visit, heaters. I'm all about a good, well researched list. So am looking forward to the second in the series....more
I found the plot predictable and the characters lacking. There was very little fun in this novel, I can think of 2 times where the female character prI found the plot predictable and the characters lacking. There was very little fun in this novel, I can think of 2 times where the female character properly laughed. (Dancing in the front room and the dive bar before the fight broke out.) The rest was overblown angst. Towards the end I found myself skimming whole chunks of Jared's inner monologue. I wanted to shake him AND Aly. Him because he was so whiney and selfish, and her because she had no oomph about her. She treated Jared like a fragile egg, when a lot of the time I wanted her to freak out and tell him to grow some balls.
It feels too harsh to give it 1 star, but if I think about it, it probably is. Seeing all the high praise for it though, I wonder if I missed something....more
So, I think this one was a little more character driven. And not that I don't like that, it's just there were points where I didn't really like ANY ofSo, I think this one was a little more character driven. And not that I don't like that, it's just there were points where I didn't really like ANY of the characters. Other than Edilio. Always love Edilio.
I did love the glimpse of the outside world. And whilst I don't know if it was a lie that at 15 you blip out to the real world again, I really hope it is true. Mary's story was so desperately tragic that I truly hope she is getting help in the real world.
It was an interesting one. It very much felt like a middle book of a series, setting things up to come, and it was difficult to distinguish between truth or lie. What I would like to see from the rest of this series is more from Pete. Seeing as he is the one who seems to be running this....more
Hands down my favourite couple of this series. Chloe and Bennet became tiresome, all that fighting was too much. Max and Sara are cute but the whole vHands down my favourite couple of this series. Chloe and Bennet became tiresome, all that fighting was too much. Max and Sara are cute but the whole voyeurism was (opinion alert) too weird. Will and Hanna are just adorable. It was a cute, and as my good friend Lee would say, and fluffy-raunch read. ...more
3 stars on account of it being better than the last one I read. But it's not great. Too long in the middle. The conflict just wasn't believable or ups3 stars on account of it being better than the last one I read. But it's not great. Too long in the middle. The conflict just wasn't believable or upsetting enough for me. When the male character inevitably hurts the female he has fallen in love with, I like the hurt to be more than her overhearing him calling her 'kid'. ...more