Sunday, January 8, 2012
The Only Normal People......
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.