I lost touch with books for about a decade because of life but thankfully I am able to return to this beautiful world. Eclectic mix from YA to erotica. I blame fanfic.
I'm not a fan of Lionel Shriver's 'We need to talk about Kevin' - excellent title though - and considering that I love to ponder the nurture vs nature debate, it's surprising, well to the friend who recommended it to me anyway.
I tend to prefer the stance, style and viewpoint of 'Bowling for Columbine' over 'Elephant.' It's not just about portraying and musing but rather proactive steps towards change. That's why I loved this book so much. It deals mainly with the aftermath of these incredibly terrifying experiences. The manner that people react to it, deal with it and learn to heal as a community. That's easy to say considering that mostly everywhere we don't really live 'as a community' anymore - something that came across vividly in Jennifer Brown's book.
This is heavy stuff and though it's emotional, it never becomes overly dramatic nor sentimental. It carefully traverses through nuances of emotions that few YA/NA tread upon or discuss. For instance the manner Valerie needs to grieve for Nick - or rather the person she loved - yet the conflict over that. Also the manner her family change towards her and the way this begins an implosion within their dynamic.
The way Jennifer Brown weaves in newspaper articles, forcing us back into the past, just as we're trying to heal in the present, helps us to understand Valerie's and victims' position better. Everytime I just thought of those 'the family wish to be left in peace at this time' pleading requests you so often hear when horrible things happen and the media relentlessly descends. Yet we feed the beast and as I raced to find out what lay in store for Valerie there was a certain amount of self-examination too. We want to know so desperately, even with impropriety. Maybe because we've felt that rage that turned Nick into monster, so far from that babe he once was. We want to find out that we're different but as Jennifer Brown implies, there's actually not much that separates us.