Monday, November 12, 2012
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA, contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Group, Inc., 2004
Source: Borrowed from library
Read for: Fun
Macy is careful to keep everything in her life under her control. Ever since her father died, she has made sure that she is not overly emotional, not imposing on anyone, and that she is as perfect as possible. However, life seems to have other plans one summer. Macy's perfect boyfriend is at an academic camp and Macy is working a boring job in the library, but suddenly a new job and new friends seem to beckon her out of her perfectionist coma.
Anyone who reads contemporary YA knows Sarah Dessen, and from what I'd heard The Truth About Forever is one of her best books. While I enjoyed the story and went through it pretty quickly, at times the characters irritated me and a few of them lacked depth.
When I began the book initially, I found myself extremely irritated with Macy. She is so compliant with what everyone else wants, allowing herself to be trampled over by her boyfriend, her mother, and anyone else whose path she is in. She buries herself in a quest for perfectionism in order to handle her stifled emotions about her father's death and refuses to impose upon anyone. Fortunately, as she makes new friends and has new experiences, she begins to take up a little more space in the world, although she reverts back to her ways toward the end for a little while, which made me want to smack her back into reality a little bit.
The other character that bothered me was Monica. I know she was somewhat of the comic relief with her constant one-word answers and slow-moving silence, but I just couldn't bring myself to believe that someone would actually exist that way in real life. Every scene she was in felt just a little unbelievable to me.
With that said, there were also awesome characters, particularly Wes, a juvenile delinquent-turned artist that helps to bring Macy out of her shell. Sarah Dessen is known for creating great love interests, and I think Wes was a prime example. I loved the way he expressed himself through his art, the way he and Macy played "Truth" to find out each other's deepest and most ridiculous secrets, and the way Wes was continually true to himself and honest. Reading about Wes was enough to make up for my on-again-off-again irritation with Macy. Another favorite supporting character was Delia, the frazzled but likable pregnant owner of the catering company Macy begins to work for (and I could totally relate to all her late-pregnancy complaints).
I also appreciated the theme of perfectionism, both with Macy and her mother, despite the fact that the manifestations of it in the characters drove me bonkers from time to time. It was interesting to see the way both of their grief manifested in their actions and in their relationships with each other.
From my somewhat limited experience with Sarah Dessen, I think she is excellent at putting together a well-written book -- her plots and storylines move quickly and effortlessly, and she adds just enough extra detail to keep things interesting without bogging down the flow of the story.
While The Truth About Forever wasn't my favorite book, it was an enjoyable, light read.