Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Only Normal People......

This is a bad picture of my favorite fridge magnet. And it's so true! Think about your family, your in-laws, your best friend's family. Normal? I doubt it. We are people. In other words, great big balls of mess.

When I read, that's what makes a novel great. The complexity of the characters. I just finished  THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson and part of what makes this novel so brilliant (besides the poetic writing) is her characters. A hulking giant of an uncle who smokes lots of pot, is an arborist, charms women from treetops but has been married five times. The grandmother who paints canvas after canvas of women in green, is known for pruning her neighbor's gardens but won't let anyone touch her own. The boyfriend who plays music like a poet but has rigid rules for relationships. The sister's boyfriend who's a mad skate punker but is quiet and can charm animals. Each character had layers upon layers that are slowly revealed as we move through the book.

I love these kinds of stories. Where threads slither along sometimes touching, sometimes crossing, but eventually wind up neatly braided at the end. Because to me, this is life. We are complex. We are hot messes of love, hatred, greed, desire, kindness, and empathy. We are all of these things. It's just the balance that makes us unique. So maybe it's the balance that defines normal rather than a set lifestyle or image. Maybe finding that balance of perfection and imperfection is what makes us human.



  1. Heck yeah! I love those types of details in characterization! You're the second person I've read in the past two days who's read that book. Now, I definitely have to find it. :)

    I agree, we as humans are layered like lasagna. A bit of cheese, meat, sauce, spice...crazy analogy. It must be way past breakfast time.

    Enjoyed your post J.Ro!

  2. My new little icon pic looks like I'm holding my middle finger up! Yikes! I'm not, I'm holding an acorn. Maybe it ought to be changed!

  3. Just finished THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE myself--thanks to a wonderful giveaway by Lydia Kang, and I absolutely adored it. It was so beautiful and complex and imperfect that it left me breathless.

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I will be giving you an award on my blog tomorrow morning. I'd love it if you stopped by! :)

  4. Candy, I like the lasagna analogy. Also, you don't look like you're giving me the salute, It looks like you're holding something.

    LisaAnn - just fyi you're up next on the Interview roster, the week of Jan 17. And ooh, cool an award.

  5. Love the lasagna analogy, too! That's totally what I've been stressing about in my wip, too--my MC is just so flat. All noodles and no sauce, cheese, or other good stuff!

  6. wow very inspirational :). It's a real joy to stop by your blog, I would love to see some photos of you, you have a small one with a lovely horse but I would like more :). I am just curious :) hope you don't mind. Kisses and txs for the wedding wishes, by the way you are invited :))))>

  7. I love complex characters that are all very different from one another. The ones that feel like they are really real. And I think you're right-- the combination of perfection and imperfection is what truly makes a character human!


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