But once in awhile someone write a book that walks us through a daily life that needs to be seen. A life that we might not think about but maybe we should. Realistic fiction helps us see how others are experiencing the world around them – a different point of view. It often helps us know that others are struggling with life issues as well. It is valuable to see how others resolve or work towards resolving the problems before them. Maybe just knowing others can find answers helps us to look for our own.
At any rate all that said I was reading Saint Anything this week by Sarah Dessen. It is the daily life of Sydney. Sydney is a bright, well-supported and friendly high school student. But (there is always a but right?) her older brother, who everyone use to see as wonderful, has made a few to many mistakes and now is dealing with them while spending time in prison.
How do you handle the issues of a brother in prison, a mother who can’t let go of him and is trying so hard to help him from a far, a father who looks uninvolved or maybe just overwhelmed, and the guilt that you know your brother put someone in a wheelchair for life?
Wow – a lot of reality right up front! Dessen develops her story slowly building her characters day by day. We begin to see why people are making certain choices, and why Sydney is feeling a bit like she is in prison herself.
Sydney works hard to makes changes to her life – building new friendships. Nothing is easy but with a group of good friends and a view into a family so very different from her own she learns who she is outside of her family structure and out from under the shadow of her older brothers mistakes.
It is a slow read to begin with. It is a day-to-day school life with lots of internal thinking but with time the characters become people you care about and want to spend time with. A cast of characters you can learn from.
There is so much to discuss in this book – family life, trust, relationships and love, prison life, driving when drunk, drinking, parents involvement, or stress of school life.
I am new to Sarah Dessen’s work but am interested to take a look at what other topics she has taken on.
In the bedside basket to be read:
- The Running Dream by Van Draanen ( another high school realistic fiction -dealing with dis-abilities)
- The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (my adult book read for November)