Yesterday (my “now” as I type this), Thursday, I did not want to write a blog. Not even Blog Number 444, which this happens to be. So yesterday afternoon (aka “this” afternoon) I used the time I’d set aside to draft the blog to instead finish reading a good book.
This makes perfect sense to me.
It’s a book I think you’d enjoy, Lily, though it’s a teenage coming-of-age and relationships kind of book instead of history or fantasy.
Please tell me it’s not The Pink Dress.
It is not The Pink Dress, which, though loved by many, is not my kind of read, either. Plus I have the memory of a very nasty fight with my best friend in the seventh grade over it. She thought The Pink Dress was a good book and opted to drive her point home by ridiculing me for reading a fantasy novel, what she called a “baby book.”
That memory stings me, too.
Wait, is it the best friend I have now?
Yes, 9. We’ll talk about it later, okay?
The good book I turned to yesterday is Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. It’s been around since 2007 and is the sequel or, as the cover says, “Bestselling companion novel to STARGIRL.” I read that one too, of course, and went head-over-heels for it as I rarely do, though there are many books I like a great deal.*
How come you went head-over-heels?
Partly because Stargirl (birth name Susan, which she has changed several times) is an open-hearted, eccentric person who is continually trying to figure people out and brighten their days. The first book is told by her friend Leo, who really likes her but is torn between this and what all the other kids at their high school think because she’s just too different for them to accept. It gets into some pretty serious themes, like tribalism and the tribal urge to ostracize and even destroy people who are different.
Like the way real-life kids can be mean?
Exactly. Sad to say, adults can be like that, too.
The second book, the one I just finished, is told by Stargirl, herself. Ultimately, Leo, with many regrets, rejects her in favor of going with the security of the high school tribe. Her family has moved across the country since this happened. The second book is epistolary.
Written in the form of a letter, in this case a year-long letter from Stargirl to Leo. At one point Stargirl decides to build a solstice clock by marking the position of sunrise once a week in order to create a very special event on the winter solstice. All kinds of wonderful and difficult stuff happens in between, of course. Lots of it is about figuring out how to help people, “outsiders,” who are hurting emotionally, as well as working through her feelings about being rejected by Leo.
The solstice clock- -that’s what hit me after last week’s blog about my 1998 night sky experience in Joshua Tree National Park. Through the months-long making of the clock the book resolved in bringing together a community to share a moment in awe of nature, an intense spiritual event without a church or religion to separate it into any particular tribe. An event for the entire human tribe to share. This makes it an especially good book for this time of year, when darker days can feel depressing. The sun will return!
An early holiday gift to self: time with a good book.
*Both books were recommended to me by a fair circuit friend I met when Bruce and I were touring as Nevada Slim and Cimarron Sue. This particular friend had the guts to pursue a masters in library science in her sixties and came out at the top of her class! Hats off to Karen Quest who now, in addition to her stilt-walking, whip cracking cowgirl variety act, is a children’s librarian, too.
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