Wednesday, 7 November 2012

"Story of a Girl" by Sara Zarr

When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend--Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.

Story of a Girl was incredibly realistic. In every high school, there's always "that girl". The one everybody calls a slut. (I hate this word. It's so ugly and demeaning.) The one who has their life twisted and manipulated so it's some kind of joke, and everybody finds it funny to tell their own version of the story. Deanna Lambert is said girl.
Deanna was thirteen years old when her father caught her with Tommy Webber, a seventeen year old junior, and supposed friend of her brother. What I really have an issue with is the fact that she was thirteen - how many thirteen year olds really know what sex is and means? Deanna clearly didn't, and ever since then her fellow students, strangers in town, and her own father have called her a slut.  Her dad even suggests at one point that she'd slept with her 46 year-old boss. It's not true, but the fact that he'd think it sickens me. This book is one of those quiet novels: uncluttered, simple, but deeply affecting.
I liked Deanna. Most people would say she was a bad friend, a skank, a loser. She was a bad friend, but this made her feel authentic. All her deep flaws were realistic and these are flaws that many of us have, sometimes without even realising it. I also liked Stacy, Darren, Jason, and Lee. Darren was Deanna's older brother, and he stuck up for her when nobody really did. Stacy was his girlfriend, and they had a baby daughter, April. These three were constantly belittled by Darren's father, whom I wholly disliked, but they stuck with it, even when it got tough. Stacy was a very straightforward girl and I liked that. Even though they made mistakes, they pulled through at the end.
Jason and Lee were Deanna's best friends. Jason had always been there for Deanna and Lee was kind of new. But things were awkward now Lee and Jason were dating, and Deanna definitely felt like the third wheel. I like how their situation was resolved, and I hoped they would stay friends and fall back together. I appreciated the way Deanna's situation was resolved, and how she stood up for herself in the end, to try to make herself feel like a better person.
I really admire Sara Zarr's writing style. She gets straight to the point, and tells Deanna's story in the way that it is a story. She's not biased, and she doesn't try to sugarcoat things; she just tells it like it is. I guess people who reviewed this book didn't like that, but I think it's the best way to tell a story. She also makes characters like Deanna's parents three-dimensional and realistic - they're not underdeveloped or hollow; that's what real people are like.
I would have preferred it if the book had been longer. I think this would have added extra dimensions to Deanna's story. That being said, I can't read to read more Sara Zarr novels in the future.

Rating: A

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