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The Dance Sequence #6

This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn

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From the winner of the Michael L. Printz Award and the Carnegie Medal, a work of astonishing intimacy and depth
Using a pillow book as her form, nineteen-year-old Cordelia Kenn sets out to write out her life for her unborn daughter. What emerges is a portrait of an extraordinary girl, who writes frankly of love, sex, poetry, nature, faith, and of herself in the world. Her thoughts range widely: on Shakespeare and breasts, periods and piano playing, friendship and trees, consciousness and sleep, and much more besides. As she writes of William Blacklin, the boy she chooses as her first lover, or Julie, the teacher who encourages her spiritual life, Cordelia maddens, fascinates, and ultimately seduces the reader. This is a character never to be forgotten from a writer at the height of his powers.

816 pages, Hardcover

First published October 25, 2005

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About the author

Aidan Chambers

101 books281 followers
Born near Chester-le-Street, County Durham in 1934, Chambers was an only child, and a poor scholar; considered "slow" by his teachers, he did not learn to read fluently until the age of nine. After two years in the Royal Navy as part of his National Service, Chambers trained as a teacher and taught for three years at Westcliff High School in Southend on Sea before joining an Anglican monastery in Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1960. He later used his experience as a monk in his novel Now I Know.

His first plays, including Johnny Salter (1966), The Car and The Chicken Run (1968), were published while he was a teacher in Stroud.

Chambers left the monastery in 1967 and a year later became a freelance writer. His works include the "Dance sequence" of six novels: Breaktime, Dance on My Grave, Now I Know, The Toll Bridge, Postcards from No Man's Land and This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn. He and his wife, Nancy, founded Thimble Press and the magazine Signal to promote literature for children and young adults. They were awarded the Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding services to children's books in 1982. From 2003 to 2006 he was President of the School Library Association.

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5 stars
1,313 (57%)
4 stars
566 (24%)
3 stars
246 (10%)
2 stars
105 (4%)
1 star
50 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 246 reviews
Profile Image for Shelley.
2,276 reviews147 followers
September 26, 2007
I cannot believe I actually read this book. Okay, I kind of skimmed the first few hundred pages. But I was so sucked into Cordelia's story that I read the remaining six hundred. (Mostly after midnight and in increments of 150-200 pages. Damn two week check outs.)

It's not a book I'd have thought I'd like. The writing style is kind of lyrical at times, and I have limited patience for writing like that. There's also the a/b page phenomenon, which was odd. (I preferred the b pages.) As other reviews said, the voice is odd for a 15-19 year old. Honestly, to me, it felt like Vicky Austin in L'Engle's books. The same sort of conversations and word choices that I've never run across in other books or in real life. I love the Austin books, although it felt odd to me there, too. But there is precedence. *g*

When I got it, I never thought I'd read the whole thing, so I skimmed the end. All I could think was that if I'd read 768 pages only to read that first line of the last book (there are six total in here), I would be furious. So I at least knew what I was getting into, but I was still upset when it happened.

Honestly, despite all the things about it that would normally put me off, I loved every bit of it. Cordelia was a great character, real and flawed and lovely, and I'm glad I knew her.
Profile Image for Irina Elena.
670 reviews172 followers
May 27, 2022
I have nothing really deep or meaningful to say about this, except that this is one of the books that shaped my personality.
I first read this (secretly) when I was 12, and although I shouldn't have (it is pretty "adult") I am so glad I did it! - a total of three times.
This was my introduction to: lesbian relationships, non-stigmatized masturbation, the long, drawn-out, dramatic, romantic, awkward, young love story.

I am honestly in awe of AC. When I realized he was a guy, I think I almost fainted.
Profile Image for Kristina.
2 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2010
I first picked up this book when a male friend recommended it to me. I've encountered bits and pieces of it through him and when I first went to pick up the book, its size astonished me. When I began to read it, my astonishment only grew - a book with a female narrator, practically spilling herself into these books/boxes that she kept? At sixteen, I instantly liked it, and fell in love with Cordelia. This book immediately became a big source of inspiration for me; I loved the way she could jump from one thing to the next, I loved her essays, lists, "mopes", I loved the lyrical tone of her writing. A couple hundred pages in I decided to look into some information about the author (I kept thinking "Aidan" could possibly be a female) and I was shocked to learn that he is a man! His portrayal of this female protagonist is exceptional.
The length of this book was no issue for me - it's safe to say that I finished it in just under two weeks. I couldn't put it down, and the only obstacle I had was the split a/b pages. It wasn't something that I've seen before, but I shrugged it away.
The ending blew me away. I always steer clear of flipping forward and spoiling the ending or plot twist of a book for myself, so when I finally reached the final book, it hit me harder than I could possibly expect. I cried impossibly hard, especially considering the fact that I had already been reading for two hours straight (I was nearing the end and desperately wanted to finish that night) and I can honestly say, no other book has drawn this many tears out of me. The success of this book lies in the fact that it draws the reader in - Cordelia is so believable, honest and flawed, yet terribly lovable, at least for me. As a young girl who slowly grows older through the hundreds of pages, it's easy for others to fall in love with her insights and passions. After reading for a long stretch of time and diving into the very essence of Cordelia, the loss of this character simply breaks your heart.
All in all, this book got my creative ball rolling and at times I would catch myself thinking back to it. I recommended it to a few friends, but most of them never bothered to finish, to my surprise. I am planning to re-read it in the near future.
5 reviews5 followers
December 9, 2008
Fascinating, raw, uncensored thoughts of a teenage girl, as written by an adult man. Suprisingly, he gets a lot of things right. I enjoyed this book simply because the character development was fabulous, and the story telling was honest and sincere. The book's format was also intriguing, not at all chronological, it jumps all over the place but is still cohesive. A book about falling in love and discovering oneself. I will read it again and again.
Profile Image for Gizmology.
22 reviews10 followers
December 4, 2007
I was loving this book -- the first section about her developing relationship with the boy she's decided to lose her virginity to was great -- all the anxiety and excitement and fear of it rang really true to me. BUT then there's THAT PART that everyone mentions, where there are suddenly two parallel storylines, A and B, for more than a hundred pages, like page 191-A, page 192-B, 193-A, 194-B, etc.etc., so you have to decide whether to go back and forth or read all of A and THEN all of B... AAAAAARGH. I thought I should read them simultaneously -- A, B, A, B, because the point seemed to be that they were side-by-side narratives, but it is NOT convenient to keep stopping at the end of a page to switch to the other story. I kept forgetting, or just not wanting to stop, and just reading three A's and having to go back and catch up with the B's, or vice-versa.

I guess I *can* admire the intent of this conceit, and maybe I can see that things like this might be a deliberately anti-convenience protest (I was going to say anti-Starbucks, but I'm actually sitting in a Starbucks that I love right now, whoops, so maybe that's the whole problem), but when I read fiction, I want to be immersed. Completely. Totally. Immersed. I don't want to be reminded every thirty seconds that I'm just reading made-up pages by having to take myself outside the story and flip the pages backwards. As I'm a confirmed member of the Escapist School of fiction reading, *flow* is absolutely crucial to my reading experience. So do I need an attitude adjustment? Maybe. I'll go back and try to keep reading and see if I can get through the A-B's by reminding myself that this is an existential challenge, not a New Millenium McHappyRead.
Profile Image for Batgirl.
7 reviews4 followers
September 1, 2011
the most beautifully written and perfect book
boys - read it to understand girls
girls - it to understand yourself
Profile Image for Meredith.
83 reviews6 followers
December 26, 2014
(I have marked this as spoilerish in content, but wish to reiterate here that this review contains MAJOR spoilers.)

If I could, I would give this book 3.5 stars; however, since that isn't an option, I will give it 4. I try very hard not to grade a book down when the ending doesn't go my way. Some of the best books I have read have had disappointing/ambiguous/depressing endings, but ones generally in keeping with the tenor of the narrative. But I do not enjoy cheap narrative tricks (i.e., contrived "twists", Hollywood tearjerker sleights of pen, or saccharine big-red-bow endings).

Unfortunately, Book Five of this narrative involved a rather unrealistic big-red-bow sequence of serendipities; jobs, income, dwellings, office help, and even rent waivers fell from the sky and into Will's and Cordelia's laps. After so much struggle, their starting a life together felt somewhat effortless. These were college-age kids trying to strike out on their own. Where was the ramen, so to speak? Where was the initial financial struggle that couples even a decade older face? Simply put, where was the realism? Perhaps Chambers knew that he was running low on real estate, that his epic adolescent tome was already several inches thick and in need of an ending, so he had Cordelia apologize on his behalf for rushing through this part of the narrative. Unfortunately, in doing so, he forfeited some of the overarching realism that made this story so endearing.

Book Six, however, was when this book jumped the Heinian shark for me, and an otherwise unique narrative inspired by a timeless Japanese classic became a hackneyed tearjerker. Let me preface this by remarking that this story was a bold endeavor from the get-go--a male author taking on the psyche of a teenage girl. Chambers did the feminine adolescent mind justice throughout much of this book, with a few minor missteps here and there. However, Book Six was where he made his most egregious miscalculation. In killing off Cordelia and finishing the story from Will's point of view, he essentially broke the promise of the first five books--that this was Cordelia's story, her psyche, her gift to her child. She was not allowed to finish her own story; instead, she was disposed of (literally) at her beloved Uffington White Horse and we were left with nothing but Will's closing statements. We experienced some of the most pivotal moments of her life--her wedding, her baby's naming, and her few months of motherhood before death--through her husband's eyes. Thus, both narrator and reader were robbed of something vital.

Cordelia's voice carried us through nearly 800 pages of teenage angst, heartache, joy, musings, and relationships. It strikes me as strange that, in the final pages, the author took away her voice and replaced it with that of a man.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
76 reviews3 followers
July 6, 2007
I was thinking about this again as I'm reading The Pillow Book that serves partly as its inspiration. I liked the way it used a variety of writings to tell the story - not just the protagonist Cordelia's diary, but her essays, musings and 'mopes' - the latter being poetry of debatable quality. It was a lovely book. Cordelia could be annoying, and sometimes seemed too sort of well-adjusted liberal in her attitudes towards sex and her body to be real, but it's hard to tell if that was unrealistic, or just part of the way she could really be quite infuriating. For the most part, Aidan Chambers wrote a convincing young woman - at first I wondered if I was just confused and Aidan could in fact be a woman's name. Nope. Man in his seventies. Quite amazing.

I should probably read his other books, because I think he must really be an incredible writer. It's a book that questions itself - it's a novel but it's not really a novel. Not just the mix of Cordelia's writings, but in one section, two things run simulationeously - the telling of Cordelia's story, and the things she's writing at the time, essays and poetry critiques and all sorts, each printed every second page. I went through the right pages first, and then went back and read the left pages. It was intense, but it was for a purpose.

And I like that he's not afraid to be literary, or to have a character who thinks so deeply. She's not the most likable of characters, but she knows herself, she's got guts, and you can tell the author respects her even when she's at her most typically teenage. I hope I can create something so awesome when I'm seventy.
Profile Image for | J.
8 reviews
March 21, 2009
This is one of the thickest books I've ever conquered in such short time. But Aidan Chambers makes it such an easy read. I fell in love with his main characters, as I suppose was the intention. It reads as a diary, from a girl who is astoundingly committed to maintaining it. I envy her for her determination. The ending is abrupt and unfair, but then again so is life. Point made.

I must admit it is almost insulting how much Aidan Chambers understands about young females. We think we're so mysterious and complicated, but perhaps we're easier to figure out than we'd want, or maybe we are more surface than we admit to, hoping someone, anyone will just 'get us' for once.
Profile Image for Sarah.
30 reviews
June 25, 2007
Loooooooooooonggggggg! Confusing part in the middle where you have to read all the left pages in order and then go back to read all the right pages in order. Sad sad sad ending. The thing that really screwed up this book for me was the fact that it was really hard to read because the binding on the hardback wouldn't break so it was hard to hold with just one hand.
Profile Image for Hallie.
249 reviews12 followers
April 29, 2009
I hesitated between three and four stars for this book. On the one hand, it had some excellent qualities: sheer length (~800 pages) without becoming dull, for the most part well-developed characters, a non-linear structure that is intriguing and ends up mostly making sense, and the fact that a middle-aged man successfully and convincingly pulled off a first-person narrative in the character of a teenage girl. On the other hand, while not as creepily all-consuming as Twilight, this novel's love story is of the passionate "love of my life discovered at age 15" variety that I find a) hard to buy into and b) faintly nauseating. So while I was convinced I was living in the mind of a late teenage girl, I didn't always like being there. On the other hand, when she was talking about anything other than being in love, I felt quite at home with the character, and the narration is full of vaguely philosophical digressions, amusing monologues and literary references in addition to the actual plot (really, I'd say they were more interesting than the actual plot). It reminded me strongly of a lighter but better-executed version of Special Topics in Calamity Physics. In sum: four stars for the idea, two for the plot, three for overall realization.
Profile Image for Xayide.
7 reviews
October 18, 2010
This is my all-time-favourite book. Ever.

It is my bible, and even now I've grown and matured and do not feel the same as Cordelia all the time, this book will always be with me, because it's so alike me. Cordelia is a clear, strong woman and her life and thoughts are very pure.
I fell this book has taught me a lot about myself, by prompting me to discover WHY I think what I think, and what it is that matters to me.

And a little heads-up; the ending is gorgeous. Keep tissues lined up, because it makes you feel alive, but also really, very sad.
I regard Cordelia as my better self, the person I will always try to be.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Katrina.
415 reviews29 followers
January 30, 2015
Although This Is All is not really a plot driven novel, I still found myself unable to put it down. I kept wanting to go on to find out what Cordelia would talk about next. As the narrator discusses how her soon-to-be-born child came to be, readers will be drawn in by Cordelia's honesty and openness in discussing her life, her choices, and how both have led her to where she is at the beginning of the novel. I don't know that this book has universal appeal, but if you tend to enjoy novels that take time to develop their characters, then you will enjoy Cordelia and the tales she tells.
Profile Image for Amy.
665 reviews
August 23, 2008
I couldn't get into this. I think I read about 50 pages (and that is not saying much, because the book is something like 800 pages). I disliked the Voice. I thought she was too... too. You know, "I'm so sexually liberated" "I'm so smart "I'm a weirdo pregnant teenager who is wise beyond my years" "La La La" I just don't buy it.
Profile Image for Annemieke.
20 reviews12 followers
February 8, 2015
I loved the story as a whole, but wow I really hated the part in the middle where it split in an A and B part.
Profile Image for Marta.
337 reviews10 followers
August 19, 2019
3,5 stelline
Mettetevi comodi perchè questa recensione sarà infinita, un po' come il romanzo del resto, ed ho anche cercato di tralasciare alcune cose....credo che Chambers mi abbia contagiato! XD

E' stato un rapporto di amore e odio quello che ho avuto con l'autore durante tutta la lettura di questo romanzo.

Alcune cose le ho trovate veramente molto belle, interessanti ed originali, c'è un bel approfondimento dell'interiorità della protagonista, delle sue incertezze, il suo sentirsi inadeguata e credo che per moltissimi aspetti sia facile ritrovarsi in lei, perlomeno così è stato per me.
In alcuni momenti al contrario mi veniva voglia di prenderlo a testate.

Una cosa è certa, l'autore non ha il dono della sintesi! Quello che più mi è pesato durante la lettura è il suo continuo girarci intorno, procrastinare, divagare e non arrivare mai al punto! E quando intendo non arrivare mai al punto intendo che per raccontare un semplice avvenimento, per cui sarebbero bastate una decina di pagina, lui continua a perdersi in ragionamenti e pensieri della protagonista, passaggi inutili, poco inerenti alla storia e dopo 100 pagine sei ancora lì, in attesa, sperando che si decida a dire cosa diamine è successo.

Essendo il romanzo scritto forma di un diario della protagonista dove racconta la sua vita alla bambina che porta in grembo, alcune parti disconnesse tra loro possono benissimo starci, rende il tutto più credibile, come se stesse scrivendo senza pensare, di getto, lasciandosi travolgere da un fiume di pensieri che non riesce a controllare, ma sinceramente a tutto c'è un limite! Ancora prima di metà romanzo la cosa inizia a pesare e stufare.

"Questo è tutto" penso che sia il titolo più azzeccato per questa raccolta di racconti del cuscino di Cordelia, si perchè racconta tuuuuuuutto, anche le cose più inutili, non per nulla il romanzo è lungo 1000 pagine, MILLE, veramente troppe per quanto mi riguarda, la metà sarebbero bastate, forse anche meno! (Ah, se volete sapere tutto ciò che c'è da sapere sul seno, ma proprio tutto tutto eh, femminile, maschile, animale, ghiandole, e chi più ne ha più ne metta, anche il peso di un seno medio, trovate anche quello! Nove pagine di cultura generale non fanno mai male! E questo è solo un piccolo esempio!)

Un'altra cosa che non mi è piaciuta per niente è che ad un certo punto del libro abbiamo le pagine suddivise in A e B e in ogni facciata si alternano ed ogni lettera corrisponde a una storia diversa. Non so se è stata una mia mancanza ma la cosa non è stata subito chiara all'inizio quindi mi sono ritrovata a non capirci più niente della storia perché si parlava di due cose completamente differenti e che non c'entravano niente l'uno con l'altra. Uno erano i pensieri su vari argomenti che gli saltavano in mente alla protagonista, ovvero un susseguirsi di frasi fatte, e l'altro era la continuazione del racconto della sua vita. Non mi è ancora ben chiaro se andasse letto prima una parte e poi l'altra, un po' una e un po' l'altra, come ho fatto io, fatto sta che ho trovato la cosa veramente molto confusionaria e inutile, si poteva benissimo proseguire con la narrazione utilizzata fino a quel momento che era molto più scorrevole e abbastanza gradevole.

La prima parte sostanzialmente parla della scoperta dell'amore di Cordelia, del suo voler trovare il ragazzo perfetto per fare sesso entro i sedici anni e della sua storia d'amore con Will.

Arriverà poi il momento che lui, essendo più grande di un anno, deve partire per il college e lei si ritroverà a dover fare i conti con il distacco e la solitudine che la sua partenza lasciano.
Quando finalmente si rivedono a lei sembra essere cambiato il loro rapporto, lo vede diverso, distaccato ed al posto di affrontarlo di parlargli si logora dentro allontanandosi anche lei.
Per questa ragione succederà poi un qualcosa che non voglio rivelarvi, perchè succede più o meno a metà libro, (anche se è già spoilerato nella trama -.-) che farà cambiare completamente Cordelia, non sembra più lei, sembra essersi completamente persa, ignara delle conseguenze a cui porterà il suo comportamento.

Verso la fine ho avuto come la sensazione che l'autore si sia completamente perso e non sapendo più cosa scrivere abbia allungato la storia con avvenimenti un po' campati in aria che non mi sono per niente piaciuti.
Ovviamente non poteva mancare un dramma finale per chiudere in bellezza ma non voglio farvi spoiler quindi taccio che è meglio!
Il finale, malgrado tutto, non può lasciare indifferenti, fa commuovere e riflettere, anche se per me non era la giusta conclusione, e le emozioni dei protagonisti arrivano come un pugno dello stomaco al lettore, forse come mai era successo durante tutto il racconto.

Lo stile di Chambers l'ho trovato particolare e abbastanza piacevole, sicuramente è riuscito ad immedesimarsi nella protagonista ed a rendere perfettamente le sue emozioni, le insicurezze e pensieri che si possono avere alla sua età. Il dubbio che però mi è sorto spontaneo è se questo libro sia realmente adatto al pubblico a cui è rivolto, non tanto per la storia raccontata ma per il suo essere così a tratti profondo, estremizzato, sviscerato in maniera così puntigliosa; un genere di narrazione che anche a me, che sono una lettrice abbastanza vorace e non più giovanissima, dopo un po' ha pesato e ho trovato ridondante, un voler allungare il brodo più e più volte quando in tre frasi avrebbe potuto dire esattamente quello che lui ci mette anche una decina di pagine, perché deve descrivere tutto, dalla cosa più futile a quella più importante facendo passare la voglia al lettore di proseguire con la lettura.
Sicuramente l'autore è bravo a far riflettere il lettore a mettergli la pulce nell'orecchio e fargli venire dei dubbi, questo bisogna dirlo.

Ammetto che la voglia di chiudere il libro e non proseguire mi è venuta diverse volte, non per niente ci ho messo quasi due mesi a leggerlo, alternandolo con altre letture, ma ho voluto insistere perchè ci sono delle cose che fin da subito mi hanno affascinato e conquistato e personaggi che piano piano mi sono entrati nel cuore, nonostante tutto.
I personaggi li ho trovati tutti ben delineati ed abbastanza peculiari nel loro essere, sicuramente l'autore non cade noi soliti clichè e fa un bel lavoro di introspezione.
Con la protagonista, un po' come per Chambers, è stato amore e odio, per certi aspetti mi sono rivista molto in lei, nelle sue passioni e nelle sue insicurezze, alcune volte invece non sono riuscita a comprenderla ed a sopportarla.
Ho molto apprezzato che siano molto presenti i rapporti tra adulto e adolescente, che spesso mancano completamente nei romanzi rivolti ad un pubblico giovane, in questo caso l'argomento è sviscerato veramente molto bene, se non per una piccola cosa che ho trovato abbastanza inutile, c'è un bell'approfondimento del rapporto padre-figlia, della mancanza di una madre che si fa sentire e di chi ha preso il suo posto.
Cordelia ha perso la madre quando era piccola e con il padre, ed il suo alcolismo, non ha un bellissimo rapporto, non le è mai stata abbastanza accanto, si è allontanato, cercando di dimenticare il dolore e si è dimenticato un po' anche di lei. Il suo punto di riferimento è sua zia Doris, la sorella di sua madre, con cui è crescita e con la quale ha un rapporto splendido, molto intimo e profondo.

Il protagonista maschile, Will, quanto l'ho detestato! Non è sicuramente un ragazzo cattivo ma è immaturo, egoista e di una pesantezza allucinante, tutto con lui diventa un dramma, una prima donna insomma! Anche lui con lo scorrere delle pagine cambia e matura ma non è mai riuscito a convincermi fino in fondo, nemmeno quando nell'ultima parte abbiamo la possibilità di conoscere i suoi pensieri più profondi.
La professoressa di Corderlia, Ms M, per gli amici Jiulie, l'ho amata moltissimo! Benedetta donna, menomale che c'è lei!
Definirla semplicemente un insegnante è veramente riduttivo; è quella persona che tutti avremmo voluto avere affianco durane il nostro percorso scolastico. Una donna fuori dall'ordinario, che fa il suo mestiere con una passione infinita e che per Cordelia è molto di più che una professoressa, è un punto di riferimento, un porto sicuro dove rifugiarsi quando a casa le cose vanno male e un'infinita fonte di ispirazione. Attraverso il suo personaggio, alla sua immensa conoscenza della letterature e grazie al rapporto speciale che ha con lei Cordelia, Chambers dà al lettore moltissimi spunti letterari, aiuta a volte a comprendere meglio certi scritti, a conoscere alcuni autori più da vicino ed a scoprirne di nuovi. Questa è una delle cose che più ho apprezzato di tutto il racconto, il tutto è sempre accurato ma raccontato spesso e volentieri in modo inusuale ed ogni volta fa venire voglia di iniziare il libro di cui si sta parlando.

Da subito ho adorato anche il personaggio di Izumi, la migliore amica di Cordelia, una ragazza giapponese che porta un pizzico della sua cultura ed usante, che tanto amo, in questa storia; peccato che ad un certo punto se ne vada e non viene approfondita tanto quanto avevo sperato, aveva davvero un grande potenziale secondo me. Anche grazie al suo personaggio l'autore fa conoscere al lettore un particolare forma di poesia nipponica, gli haiku, che ogni tanto la protagonista stessa si diverte a comporre e che troviamo sparsi durante tutto il racconto. Cordelia è una grande amante della poesia, ne ha sempre scritte fin da piccola, lei le chiama le sue malinconie, ed il suo sogno nel cassetto è quello di poter un giorno pubblicare le sue poesie, farsi conoscere e comprendere attraverso di esse.
Il romanzo stesso è scritto sotto forma di diari del cuscino giapponesi e questo è sicuramente una delle cose che lo rende peculiare ed originale unito alla grande cultura letteraria che non ritroviamo spesso in questo genere di romanzi.

Mi sono dilungata anche troppo, ci sarebbero molte altre cose da dire ma mi fermo qui, spero si sia capito qualcosa in queste mio delirio di riflessioni XD Tirando le somme, vi consiglio questo romanzo? Ad essere sincera non lo so, lascio a voi la scelta, (a vostro rischio e pericolo!) credo sia una di quelle storie ed autori che o si amano o si odiano. Proverò a dare un'altra possibilità all'autore, per certi versi ha saputo sorprendermi, magari semplicemente non ho scelto il libro giusto.
Profile Image for Inger.
8 reviews
May 8, 2013
I can't believe I finally finished this book. I have never had this much problem with finishing a book before. And I've got to say, This Is All is one of the most unique books I have ever read.

The book is... strange. I have never had so many mixed feeling reading a book before. My feelings have been ranging between love, hate, admiration, fascination, disgust, anger, confusion, enchantment and frustration. I wanted to throw the book across the room frequently. It took me around TWO YEARS to finish the book because at times it infuriated me so much I had to put it away and not pick it up again for more than six times. I only finished it after giving it a third chance.

Oh, Cordelia, where to start? She's such a... teenager. I honestly could relate so much to her at times as I read this book between the ages of 15 and 18 (my birthday is in December, therefore two years). The way Chambers describes how the teenage mind works astonishes me, how can a man of that age understand the thoughts of a teenager so clearly and convey them so vividly and realistically? At the same time, there were a lot of things that were a bit too much. Honestly Cordelia, when I don't want to know what you prefer a penis to be like, your daughter will certainly not want to know it. Also, I was absolutely revolted by how Cordelia tells us she want's to bury her face in Will's armpit hair and his pubes. Honestly. I've been so in love I've been out of my mind and acted like a complete idiot, and that though has NEVER crossed my mind. Chest, yes. Pubes, NO.

The book is built up of different "pillow books" and each book is quite different. I think the part of the book that was most annoying to me is the part where a very creepy thing happens. In that part the book is divided in small chapters that both follow the story line and talk about completely different things. I felt like all I wanted to know was what was going to happen, so I had to skip a lot and go back, which honestly was quite annoying. Generally I do like Chambers' writing. The most boring part of the book to me was all the spiritual stuff, I found it slightly unnecessary and completely uninteresting.

The book was so hard for me to finish and I hated it with a passion at times, but I couldn't help to love it all the same. I found myself caressing the book when I'd put it away and after I finished it, the third time I gave it a go that is. You know, the way you'd pat your cat or the cheek of a baby. The books ending was devastating, and it made me love it more. I might be weird, but I gotta admit I love myself a sad ending from time to time. There's a reason why I can't possibly love a movie more than I love Titanic.

All in all, it is a book that should definitely be read. If I'll read it again, I have no idea, but I do know that it was worth it. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it, but I'm not saying you will feel the same things I did. Maybe you'll hate it through and through, or love it through and through. All the same, do it, experience it and feel everything it can make you feel to the fullest.
2 reviews1 follower
January 30, 2013
This is by far my absolute favorite Realistic Fiction book.
I've read it twice now, and I can't decide which time I liked better.
The first time was an interesting experience, of course, because I was able to be surprised by the plot and meet the characters. However, reading it a second time was like wrapping myself in a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa. Not only did I get to return to the wonderfully developed characters, but different aspects of the story stuck out to me anew that might've gotten lost in the folds the first time.
What really strikes me, is how well a male author can portray a female teenager. I found I was really able to relate to her, and where I couldn't relate I was able to find a new way of looking at things.
The way the book is formatted does get a little odd when the Parts A and B to one of the inner-books spring up, but my recommendation is to read it page-by-page. This way, you'll be able to 1) read it the way the author seems to want you, and 2) connect the different parts together--i.e. Cordelia's random entries with her actual life.
I definitely plan to read it yet again soon.
Profile Image for Dorie Waters.
3 reviews
April 14, 2009
This book changed my life. It was so inspiring! After reading it, I too have begun to keep a pillow book, and it has made me a much more down-to-earth person. It's long, and the Orange book is hard to finish since it is nothing but lists (But it was fun for me, I LOVE lists.). My favorite book OF ALL TIME.
May 10, 2012
I wish I could tell you about this book, but I simply can't. Just, please, read it! When I read it, I learned a lot, and I got to know myself better. Sometimes, it felt like it was I who had written the text. And, I just love all the poetry. I would almost like to say that the entire book is one long, wonderful poem.
Profile Image for Victoria Olivo.
73 reviews4 followers
December 24, 2016
This book!!! Everyone as a teenager and later as an adult should definitely read this book. I do not agree with every concept in this book but it is a basis that is great to center someone in life. Love love love this book wish I could have read it as a teen. As the sticker on the front cover on my book said "a huge book in every sense" it definitely is. I encourage everyone to read it!
6 reviews5 followers
July 31, 2013
this was an amazing book! I recognized myself in the main character, it was almost like I was reading a huge part of my ow life. I've laughed, cried and dreamed. 782 pages and every page was worth it!!
I was surprised that is was written by a man, happily surprised (:
He's an artist!
Profile Image for Pamela Bulu.
2 reviews1 follower
December 26, 2013
This is my favorite book. It's deep and intimate. The reader follows Cordelia on various escapades as she matures and explores her world. It's filled with poetry and musings as well as narrative and it's completely and totally beautiful and unforgettable.
Profile Image for Erica.
721 reviews199 followers
October 2, 2018
This book is so complete. I read it, and I questioned how this Aidan Chambers knew so much about me. I love this book beyond belief. It is so important to me.
Profile Image for Lisa Maagdenberg.
44 reviews2 followers
June 26, 2021
Dit boek is sinds mijn puberteit in mijn leven en elke keer raakt het me weer. Cordelia is herkenbaar, zeker niet perfect en weet alles op een mooie manier te verwoorden. Het leven van een tienermeisje of jongvolwassen vrouw is zo goed weergegeven dat ik me met verbazing besefte dat het door een mannelijke auteur geschreven is.

Bij deze reread heeft er een jaar of 10 tussen gezeten, waardoor alles een beetje was weggezakt (behalve bepaalde grote lijnen). Nu vraag ik me af of bepaalde gekke trekjes van mij niet zijn beïnvloed door het lezen van dit boek als tiener, omdat ik ze deel met Cordelia. Zoals ik zei raakt dit boek me al sinds mijn eigen puberteit en heeft het invloed gehad op hoe ik de wereld en de liefde zie. Misschien heeft het me ook gevormd in bepaalde andere opzichten, waar ik als tiener niet bewust van ben. Trek in bananen tijdens mijn menstruatie? Check.

Door de manier waarop het is geschreven, voel je je persoonlijk verbonden met Cordelia en de relaties en personen in haar leven. Zoals gezegd is ze herkenbaar, in ieder geval voor mij toen ik een tiener was en nu nog steeds. Dit boek blijf ik koesteren.
Profile Image for Lola Hodgson.
223 reviews2 followers
May 11, 2022
i feel like giving this anything less than five stars would be a disservice.
it was not always fun or easy to read, and there were parts that bored me or i wasn't as interested in.
but there were so many other parts that i felt as if were extracted directly from my soul.
i laughed, i cried, i sobbed, i felt as if i truly got to understand cordelia, whilst also simultaneously not knowing all that much about her.
it is a book i knew very early on that i would need to reread. it is a book that made me feel.
Profile Image for sophia.
95 reviews1 follower
January 22, 2022
*5 stars
Amazing book. It felt like i was watching a part of Cordelia’s life. My heart is shattered and I’m currently having a mental breakdown.
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