Angela Berg's Reviews > Twisted

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Apr 18, 12

Read in April, 2012

***Spoilers Included***

Twisted is really easy fun YA book that has a lot to offer students regarding Coming of Age. However, I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of psychological and emotional abuse the family endured at the hands of the father. I am sure Laurie Halse Anderson needed to make the father’s character hateful so Tyler would have his “dragon” to slay but my concern comes from students who live in a volatile situation like this. A young boy standing up to a man who is on the verge of loosing total control is not a positive message to send. Again, I understand the motive behind it I just wonder if she has ever been in a real life situation like that to know how really dangerous that is.
The amount of symbolism used in the book was almost overwhelming but after a while I realized it made this book an excellent tool for pointing out or teaching symbolism. Here are a few of the symbols I found.
The Yard- must be mowed and look great at all times because it is how one presents him/herself on the outside that matters to hell with the total chaos running rampant on the inside.
The father’s models train set- like his father’s life/job/family and infinite loop to nowhere.
Bethany watching lions on the television when Tyler first visits after her “accident” at the pool- “They’re headed out for the hunt,” the voice-over explained. Bethany preying on Tyler, like the lioness she is looking for her mate that coinciding with Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection must be the strongest and most powerful in order to win the pride and procreate.
Tyler is good at digging holes- like the holes he digs himself into getting in trouble at school and with his father.
The name Bethany-*("house of the figs") is recorded in the New Testament as the home of the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, as well as that of Simon the Leper. Jesus is reported to have lodged there after his entry into Jerusalem, and it could be from Bethany that he parted from his disciples at the Ascension.*
That to me states her importance in Tyler’s life. Without a home, you have nothing but she is a Holy House.
Bethany’s Halloween costume was a cross between a fairy and an angel- Tyler’s belief of Bethany, she is angelic a supreme being and like a fairy, magical.
The name Chip: it is what Tyler carried on his shoulder because of the tormenting he endured when he was a nerd boy.
The in-school suspension in solitude Tyler agreed to do while waiting on the allegations against him to be founded or dismissed- Trapped between childhood and adulthood.
The gun-the control and power he wants to have over his life. When he puts the gun to his head he realizes it was not the gun that had the power but it was he who had the power.
The game, Tophet- he must complete/endure all the levels, all the hellish nightmares to become a man and win the game of life.
Twisted- that’s most definitely what life is, twisted.
I am not sure it you would be able to teach this book in high school because of the content but I think it has so many interesting things you can use for theme, motif and symbolism that would make it an excellent choice for a personal school library based on those reasons alone.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Twisted. New York: Speak, 20082007. Print.

"Bethany (biblical village) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethany_....
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