the Story of a Boy Who Read the Story of a Girl

Posted: February 20, 2013 in On Novels
Tags: , , , , ,

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Let me start off by saying two things about Sara Zarr’s “Story of a Girl”. One: holy crap I cannot describe in words how glad I am that Deanna in this book actually speaks like a teenager. How many teenagers do you know who would rather say shoot than shit, darn or dang than damn? None. That is the true answer. If you dispute this, you are a liar, or it’s just a matter of time. The second thing I need to say is that I think this story provides an interesting parallel to “Speak” by Laurie Anderson. Deanna and Mel are almost total opposites, but they’re in similar predicaments. Around the wonderful world of high school, they’re both the talk of the town. The difference between them is that Deanna’s dilemma is known right out of the gate and the story deals with her attempts to mend her broken relationships and tarnished reputation. Mel, however, hasn’t even reached this stage, because she has yet to tell anyone.

Not to be confused with the song that turns up if you even frickin’ TRY to google the title.

I thought the dynamic between the characters in this story was really unique. Tommy isn’t some rubbing-his-hands-together supervillain or anything like that, and he even expresses a smidgen of regret when he mentions that he’s glad he doesn’t have to feel like shit every time Dee looks at him. I’m glad the story managed to avoid some of the cliches of the bad guy being bad again at the end, getting caught, and the camera zooming out while happy music plays in the background (I know that this sort of thing happens in real life as well, but come on, it’s practically chickflick gold). I was also impressed that the ending didn’t suddenly find the shitty parents and the ostracized friends instantly reconcilling with Dee. Rather, their relationships are implied to be on the road to healing, but they won’t get there without efforts on the part of all involved. The characters aren’t perfect, and they all have their own quirks that make them good – and bad people.

Above: An artist’s rendition of what does not happen in most romance novels.

One part that thoroughly disgusted me on multiple levels is where Bruce (I think his name is) just straight up shoves his hand between Dee’s thighs. Ignoring my disgust for that, I almost feel a greater disgust knowing that no one stomped his teeth in afterwards. Jason seriously just scolds him after that and tries to console her with some weak-ass words? Really? Aren’t they supposed to be best friends? I hate being the “if it were me” guy, but seriously, that shit would not fly. Even worse, everyone else around does nothing about it. Everyone just sits and stares slack-jawed. Sadly enough, this is probably about what would really happen. Seems like people constantly think they’re looking at their lives through a TV monitor.

Repulsion for worthless sacks of skin aside, on the whole, I did enjoy “Story of a Girl”. I think Dee as a character handled her situation extremely maturely (for the most part). She obviously has her moments, like needlessly berating Lee or pleading with Darren to live with them, but she really makes attempts to move past her negative experiences. There are several moments in the novel where weight is slowly lifted from her shoulders, piece by piece. It’s a start.

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  1. Elisabeth says:

    May I suggest that you read Will Grayson, Will Grayson for our next class? I think you will appreciate the voices of the characters!

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