Jayne's Reviews > Sleepwalk Society

Sleepwalk Society by Kendare Blake
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Jul 29, 10


Violet is a girl who doesn t see her own beauty. She refers to her name is "a joke, a plain girl having a name that s also a color. Violet says, One of my boyfriends in high school said that the only color on my face was in my eyes, and that was the color of a faded dollar bill. He also said they d be good looking if only they could express something. The year is 2002 and 18-year-old Violet is beginning summer break from college classes, a summer that will bring unexpected conflicts and discoveries. In her compelling debut, The Sleepwalk Society, Kendare Blake explores what it means to define ones self and how expectations and relationships influence the direction of one's life. Violet says, But over time, we get tired of other people. Other people get you caught up in things; they make it difficult to be what we are, indifferent, the sleepwalk society, drifting around the center of our lives. I know that by the end of the summer, it will just be us three, sitting in a car somewhere, talking less and less but louder and louder, one last rail against the new semester coming down to beat us over the heads. This summer doesn t turn out to be anything like previous summers. While on summer break, Violet's father also gives her an ultimatum: she will either declare a major or he will stop funding her education. Violet's mother, an alcoholic, wants Violet to return to school. "In the end, they both want the same thing, my mother and my father; only they want it for different reasons. My father wants me to go to school and be successful so that I will be like him, to prove that his life is worthy of envy. My mother wants me to go so that I ll never be like her, to prove that her life was a price that she didn t have to pay." The ultimatum from her father isn t the only thing weighing on Violet. Dynamics change dramatically between the trio of best friends--Violet, Terran, and Joey--with disturbing consequences and unexpected outcomes for each of them. Violet also meets Brandon, who sees more beauty and goodness in Violet than she sees in herself. The events that unfold over the summer causes Violet to question everything she believes about friendship and herself, and to emerge bruised but more confident than she ever imagined. Blake writes with a graceful subtlety and insight as she creates a complex and intriguing cast of characters, most notably Violet, who is wonderfully vulnerable and honest as she navigates the difficult journey toward independence and self-discovery.
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