Today’s narrative of choice: I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson.
I have a terrible habit of buying books in bulk. I will be in the middle of one book, and by the time I’ve finished it, I’ve bought ten more. This results in A) the majority of books on my shelves being unread and B) a serious lack of cash. There came a point over the summer when my parents finally cut me off- “NO MORE!” they screamed, and refused to let me go into the trusty Barnes and Noble when I asked. Because I couldn’t buy any more new books, I found myself slowly making my way through the stack of unread novels that had sat for so long.
Among these was I’ll Give You The Sun. Highly recommended by publishers, newspapers, and other students, I decided to (finally) give it a go. I’ll be completely honest: at first, I had to drag myself through it. It was repetitive, predictable, and boring. It went into details that at the time seemed completely irrelevant. As you work your way through though, more and more begins to unfold itself and soon enough you’re up at 3 AM sobbing trying to finish because you just absolutely can NOT leave the characters on their own, you have to make sure they make it out okay, and you have to finish it and you don’t care about the final you have tomorrow or that you have to get up at 5 to catch the bus you just unconditionally have to finish this book.
But now I’m getting ahead of myself.
Nelson brought two characters to life: twins, one boy and one girl named Noah and Jude. The way she tells the story is unlike anything I’ve seen before- she used alternating perspectives from the twins, but at two different times in their lives: Noah’s perspective is from when they were 13, while Jude’s is told from when they were 16. This was a little confusing at first- I had no idea what was going on. Once you get used to it, you begin to connect the dots.
Moving swiftly on. I absolutely adored the twins. Jude is a good-girl-gone-bad-gone-good-again, and a sculptor in the works. Noah, closeted in his sexualty even from a young age, is a painter who has a way with people. Do not be fooled by their perfect appearance- their past has been rattled with tragedy, and the novels circle around the events of their pasts and how they move through them.
With that said, the book deals with some heavy things- death, isolation, abandonment, drugs and alcohol, sex… the list goes on. It’s not something you would give to someone who doesn’t have the maturity to handle things like that.
Overall, I am incredibly glad that I read it- there’s never been anything like it before. It is extremely rare to find a novel that is one hundred percent honest, with characters that ring truth in their every word. On a scale of 1 to 20, I would give it a 18.5. It was absolutely phenomenal, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Don’t take over the world without me.