Misty Baker's Reviews > Willow

Willow by Julia Hoban
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Jan 06, 12


“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.” ~Colette

How true.

In life we deal with 2 types of pain, emotional and physical. Most of the time the two are mutually exclusive, however at times they are triggered by the other. “Willow” by Julia Hoban is just one example of what happens when the inability to control your emotions leads to the compulsion to feel physical relief.

Willow talks to no one, she wears long sleeves regardless of the weather, and she is addicted to pain. Why? because she is a cutter. Unable to deal with the emotional responsibility of her parents sudden death (that she inadvertently caused) Willow does the only thing she can think…she abolishes her heartache with physical pain, but when a boy named Guy suddenly takes notice of her…and her arms, something snaps. Will Guy’s intense nature eventually help, or hinder Willow’s little problem? Will Willow ever understand the significance of crying, and if she finally does…will it be enough to stop her destructive behavior?

I know it can sometimes be confusing when I label devastating literature as beautiful… but that’s what it is. When a book has the ability to make you forget where you are, feel the pain, and love of its characters, and push the boundaries of what is acceptable conversation… it is no longer a book. It is art. Hoban created a story that was so overwhelming, that at times I felt as if I would explode from the on-slot of sensory overload. The skeletal plot of “Willow” was about love, grief, and understanding… but the lessons in between are what is important: acceptance, compassion, compulsion, redemption, and the ability to let go. There are several places through-out this novel in which you will hang your head in disbelief, unable to mentally comprehend what is actually happening, and even more moments in which you will find yourself shaking or crying. Let it happen… it’s what keeps you from becoming broken…it’s what keeps you from becoming Willow.

Now, I could write for days, pages of beautiful words to express what I felt for this book… the writing was breathtaking, the plot was wonderful, I fell in love with a damaged girl…but none of it would ever be enough. So it leaves me only one solution, you will just have to read if for yourself.

Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: YOU create your own paradise, and your own prison.
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