Thursday, April 2, 2009
Reviews: Kristi and Alea
The Story Siren: Kristi
I’m not even sure where to start this review. I’ve honestly written this review almost five times and haven’t been happy with what I’ve spit out. I’m not sure I can do this book justice. To say that it was spectacular would be an understatement. To say that I had a hard time putting it down, widely understated! Yet, why? Because in all seriousness, reading a story about a ‘cutter’ didn’t really appeal to me. I mean sure it sounded interesting, and I’ve read books about eating disorders, drugs, so why not try cutting. So I did. I totally agree with Hoban’s choice to write this novel in third person.
Had it not been written from Willow’s POV, I know I wouldn’t have found it as impressive as I did. I needed that insight, I needed to know why someone would do that to their self. And I hate to admit it but I understood, I empathized, I accepted it. Hoban doesn’t dance around the fact, there are some shockingly graphic scenes, but instead of grotesque they are honest and revealing.And it’s not only the characterization of Willow that’s impressive.
It’s the disheartening portrayal of Willow’s brother David, and her warped sense of his withdrawal. It’s the eccentric relationship between Willow and Guy. It’s the secondary characters that have some of the smallest parts but remain prominent in your mind. For me I, couldn’t stop thinking about the girl at the restaurant.Willow is about so much more than cutting. It’s about love. Not only first love, but the power of redemption that only love can posses.
Still haven’t done the book justice, but I’ll leave you with this. Yes, cutting is a painful subject to read about. But Willow was skillfully and uniquely told. Essentially the message is uplifting, even the worst of situations can improve.
Glad I did.
Alea-Pop Culture Junkie
Willow is a real, honest, and emotional book. From the moment you pick the book up, you are invested in Willow and her well-being. Not only is this story about grief and guilt, it is about love and never giving up. It's beautiful.
The characters in Willow are real people with complex emotions and personalities. So many books are just full of stereotypes but Willow is full of character's so lifelike it's hard to believe they aren't actual people. I also really love the world that the author has created for these characters. I couldn't help wishing that I was one of the people hanging out in the library that Willow worked at or enjoying the park or a walk through the city. I wanted to be there in that world.
My only initial concern about reading the book was that it would be sad for me to handle or that the cutting would scare me away. None of those things happened, I think having the deep emotional factor that it has only enhanced the reading experience and made it that much more meaningful.
The author's skill is so great that for the first time in my life I feel like I understand the reason that people can do such horrible things to their own body. It's always shocked and saddened me but I had never fully understood it until I heard it through Willow's voice.
I don't want to talk too much about the plot itself because I think this is one that's best discovered as you read, as you let it reveal itself to you. Reading Willow was definitely one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had in a long time. Every time I had to put the book down I daydreamed of picking it back up and re-joining Willow's world.