Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Am I Really the First One Finished?

Actually, I know I'm not because I saw Emilee's review of this book on goodreads. (Speak up Em!) I'll just give my quick review.
I'll start with the postive. Of course there was the really important and empowering message about individuality and not being afraid to be yourself, even when facing risk of ridicule and being shunned.

I don't really have anything to criticize per se. I mean, it is supposed to be youth/adolescent lit so I can't really judge it too harshly for being predictable. Who cares? I can even suspend disbelief about some of the more fantastical aspects of the book. However, I think there are certain elements of the story that the author meant to be realistic, that really weren't. For example, the fact that pretty much every student in that school shared the same collective mind. They narrator uses "we" when referring to himself and speaking for every other student, i.e. "we all became obsessed with winning," and when he was the odd person out with Stargirl, using "they" to denote every other person.
I grew up in a small high school that was about the same size as the one described in the story, and even in that little population there was a lot of diversity, if not in appearance at least in attitude. Either the students hated Stargirl's guts/thought she was weird/shunned her, or they pulled the 180 degree change and completely absolutely loved her/wanted to join her. It kind of displaces any room for indifference and apathy, which are also common traits in teenagers. However, I'm keeping in mind that the story is told from the point of view from a fellow student, and that may have just been his perception.

I came to appreciate Stargirl by the end, although I admit, she was a little hard to take sometimes.

Overall I enjoyed the book. It's a great light-hearted read with a meaningful message. Good choice!


Emilee said...

Mary, you are right, I have read it. I normally like to wait until someone else has also read it to share my inspirational thoughts.

I thought that this was a very powerful book on popularity and friendship. Stargirl is someone that I would want to be friends with even when she became less popular. I guess I wasn't very popular in high school so I thought that "they" were very mean and cruel to someone who was trying to make someones day. She was nice to everyone and tried to go above and beyond to make someone happy.

I think that sometimes the natural man gets the best of us. We need to humble ourselves and accept those who are kind to us even if they come across as strange.

Overall, I enjoyed it and want to read it again since it was such a short story. Well, I can't wait to hear from the rest of our reading gals.

Heather said...

I'm sorry, I am a slacker. I finished it the day before you posted, Mare, and just haven't taken the time to "share." :)

Interesting to me that as more time has passed, the more annoying I find Stargirl. Or, rather, the portrayal of Stargirl. I guess I thought the author pushed it a little far in his quest to show someone who was different and unfettered by the societal expectations of high school students. But overall, I appreciated the message (obvious as it was). It made me really think about my life at that time, the things I did, the mistakes I made, and the things I cared about. I wish I could say I was like Stargirl (minus the hippie dresses and ukelele solos), but I wasn't. So now, despite the fact I left high school over 7 years ago, I guess I should still be trying to be like her!

Catherine said...

Okay I finally finished. That was a good book. Didn't it describe life. At times you meet that person that changes your life that makes you see things differently and that the next thing you know you have lost complete contact with them. I always felt bad for Stargirl. I hope that I would have been nice to her. I feel like I am "stargirl" currently trying to fit in with people and I feel like such an outcast oh well. Cant wait for the next book selection!