Thursday, July 16, 2009

Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian

Emily is from the 'burbs. She hangs out with her best friend at the Starbucks, they spend most of their time poolside, doing regular everyday things. Then she gets into a summer art school in the city and her perspective begins to change. Should she try to keep flying under the radar or does she need to pursue a new way to express herself?

Emily is sort of wallflower and by that I mean she’s sort of bland, sort of blah, quiet and confused about whether or not she fits in. I liked that about her. Her confusion and her insecurity is very real, as was her tendency to get caught up in emulating her friends. She’s a follower through and through until she slowly realizes that she might be able to find her own path. Her attending art school out of her regular stomping grounds is definitely a catalyst.

“Everyone seems to have at least one creative detail on them, something that shows that they belong here. I’m plain by comparison. It’s embarrassing, how much effort it took for me to wear something that looks exactly like a blank piece of paper. No wonder no one is making eye contact with me.”

The thing that first struck me is that the writing is really dense for such a small book. Lots of description, lots of internal dialogue, which sometimes didn’t work for me only because I felt like Emily was being almost deliberately thick (and she’s not) so to be honest, it took awhile for me to get into the story. What started off as a slow read sped up considerably once I got into the style and rhythm of the book.

What I liked most about this story is how it took a girl from the suburbs that accepted the sameness around her without being able to pinpoint her discontent (because Emily was definitely not 100% contented) and interjected her into a new situation that opened her mind. She discovered that there are options. We get to choose our surroundings and our interest and can do so without having to completely negate who and what we were before.

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