Larissa's Reviews > Absolute Brightness

Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne
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Oct 13, 2011

really liked it
Read in August, 2011

This starts off as a very stereotypical teen story: fifteen-year-old Phoebe Hertle has a problem, and it’s her cousin Leonard Pelkey, who has come to live with her family. He’s different, different as in flamboyant, colorful, theatrical. She dyes her hair a lot and is into things most teen girls aren’t into and blah blah blah blah blah. Only Leonard is really something. He’s not magical, if that’s what you’re thinking. Not in that way. He’s not a vampire or a ghost or anyone particularly special at first glance; just a fourteen-year-old orphan boy who really likes people and may or may not be gay. But that is not the center point of the story, not even close.

Darkness is described as a place where light is not. Leonard lights up Phoebe’s small New Jersey town, but no one can really see and appreciate this light until Leonard is gone. It is not until then that Phoebe really sees how much space a person takes up in others’ lives, and how it expands when they disappear.

It’s a bit of a long read, sometimes veering off into dead-end subplots, but ultimately coming to an ending that forces you to wonder: Where does mankind fall on the line of good and evil? Are we ultimately good beings who have occasional bad streaks, or evil people trying so hard to be good?

Is all as it seems? Was everything laid out bare and cleared of all other possibilities, or is there room for speculation? Leonard tells Phoebe that he believes all people are connected by strands of light that grow brighter and stronger all the time. Is it possible for those strands to break when someone is lost? Do they lose their illumination and float off forever, or do they remain, a ghost, left to remind one that darkness is only a result of less light?

Overall, a thought-provoking story that may have some irrelevant parts but becomes a read you may never forget. The author, Lecesne, is the co-founder of the Trevor helpline.
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