Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Goodbye, Stranger by Rebecca Stead, a book review

I'm so in love with this book. I ached and cried and remembered all the happy and painful bits of junior high and how you think those friendships will always be there. And the mean girls. There was a mean girl in my school. She grew up to have (from the outside looking in) a really sad, almost tragic life. Why is that? Should we all warn the mean girls not to be mean because being cruel never has a happy ending?
I loved Bridge, her family, her friends, the teachers, the references to Rudolph. Almost every character had an arc, which made me think about all the side characters in my books and these characters didn't seem like characters at all.

I checked it out at the library so I couldn't underline my favorite lines, which is probably just as well because there were so many and it would have been incredibly time consuming. But what I loved most wasn't the language or prose, although they were beautiful in a simple, clean, and understated way. What I loved was the characters and the feeling.

Junior high is rough. High school wasn't as bad, although a lot of painful things happened in high school. By the end of high school, I had a pretty good idea of who I was and the type of people I wanted to be around. But junior high--it's a jungle. And in recent years, it's become an even darker, scarier jungle.

In a few months, I'm going to spend the day at a junior high. My hope is that my writing workshop will help the students write better stories, help them understand that they can be heroes, not victims, nor villains, and that every stories moves forward and eventually, junior high will be a memory. It's something we go through. We can't stay there. The same can be said about every hour of every day.

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