I'd planned on writing something this weekend but I'd honestly intended it to be a reflection on learning that I wouldn't have a job come February. I'd planned on writing about my surprise upon hearing my store was closing. I'd planned on writing about how I'd felt like a piece of my soul was ripped away when I realized that I wouldn't be able to be around books the one sustaining passion in my life. But then Stephanie Perkins stepped in and changed it all. Yes, I'm still staring down the spectre of unemployment and the loss of a job that had truly made me happy but reading her new book, Lola and the Boy Next Door reminded me of something important, no matter how dark things appear there is one thing that almost never lets you down, a good book.
No, Lola isn't great literature but it manages to accomplish something that I feel is almost more difficult than writing a literary masterpiece and that's writing a book about real people and real emotions. And it's those people and their emotions that keep me coming back and have been keeping me coming back for almost three decades. I loved reading about Lola and her life and her very real struggles and insecurities. Perkins did a fabulous job (in my opinion) taking a larger than life character like Lola and humanizing her, showing you through Lola's struggles that sometimes people adopt big personalities not beause they're fearless but because they're scared.
And the romance was fabulous. If I were a seventeen year old girl and Cricket Bell existed I would totally be following him around like a disgusting, slobbering Lab puppy. Not because Cricket was gorgeous but because he was just amazing. He was thoughtful and stupid and boylike and he wore rubber band bracelets and his pants were always too short.
Too often I think that we're under the mistaken impression that a good romance has to be about star crossed lovers who just can't live without each other. Call me weird (most people do anyway) but the ones that really get to me are the ones that are quiet. Relationships like Anne and Gilbert that "unfold naturally out of a beautiful friendship as a golden hearted rose slips through it's green sheath." (sorry Ms. Montgomery if I got that wrong I pulled it from memory). Those kinds of love feel so much more significant and profound to me than the star crossed varieties that more often than not feel more like obsesion or mental illness than love.
Anyway, thank you Stephanie Perkins. You wrote an awesome book and it made me remember that I still have my books even if my voice is taken from me.