August 25, 2012

Book Review: This Lullaby


Title: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen

Synopsis:

"I had no illusions about love... It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn't. People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say." Remy doesn't believe in love. And why should she? Her romance novelist mother is working on her fifth marriage, and her father, a '70s hippie singer, left her with only a one-hit wonder song to remember him by. Every time Remy hears "This Lullaby," it feels like "a bruise that never quite healed right." "Wherever you may go / I will let you down / But this lullaby plays on..." Never without a boyfriend, Remy is a compulsive dater, but before a guy can go all "Ken" on her (as in "ultra boyfriend behavior") she cuts him off, without ever getting close or getting hurt. That's why she's stunned when klutzy, quirky, alterna-band boy Dexter inserts himself into her life and refuses to leave. Remy's been accepted to Stanford, and she plans on having her usual summer fling before tying up the loose ends of her pre-college life and heading for the coast. Except Dexter's not following Remy's tried-and-true rules of break-up protocol. And for the first time, Remy's questioning whether or not she wants him to.

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Thoughts on the Book

What I like about this book is how the author did not only focus on the love story but also on friendship and family matters. It tackles how two teenagers who basically grew up in the same environment have different perception about their situation. They each have a contrasting take on their problems.

REMY. A teenage girl who is so cynical when it comes to love. She's had her fair share of boyfriends more than the normal count. She always puts in her mind that there is no forever in a relationship. At some point, you'll break up. Her relationship doesn't last a year. She always initiates the break up. Her behavior or perception about relationships, roots from her mother's too many marriages. She's also an anal retentive and an obsessive compulsive type of person. She's someone who loves order and clean environment and would get antsy if it isn't. What I love about her is her determination and perseverance. I like how she proved that she's not just a bitch who screws every man she met. I love how she studied hard and hired tutors just so she can make good in her SAT and in her grades at school. She deserves being accepted to Stanford University. She really has the guts. I can just see the pairs of eyebrows being raised when she passed the entrance examination.

DEXTER. He's a happy-go-lucky guy who loves challenges. He's a very spontaneous person who is always restless. All the things he does are a worthwhile risks for him. He's so calm and cool and doesn't get angry often. Comparing him to Remy, you wouldn't believed that they were both brought up in a family where different step fathers come and go inside their house. Unlike Remy, he's a messy type of guy and they always have discussions when it comes to the orderliness of his room. 

JESS. I like Jess. She's the most matured among Remy's friends. She's very motherly probably because she practically became a mother to her younger brothers when their parents died. She doesn't even drink or smoke.

LISSA. She's the type of person who sees something good in every one else. She had already planned her future and that involves her boyfriend Adam, but Adam suddenly broke things with her. I just don't approve of her drinking and smoking habits.

CHLOE. She's Remy's partner in crime. If there is anyone who could top Remy's number of boyfriends, that would be her.

TRUTH SQUAD. I like their teamwork - how they all find jobs so they could pitch in on their house rental and everything.

Remy's friends know her best. I love how they brainstorm every after her breakups and how they reminisce the boys in her life. I especially loved how Lissa figured out her behavior.

Even though Remy's mother has undergone several painful marriages, she's still happy that she has experienced to love and be loved. She made it a point for Remy to see her point of view. Towards the end, Remy realizes that to love a person and to be happy, you must always take a risk. And towards the end of the summer, she decided to follow her happiness by giving another go with her relationship with Dexter.

Quotable Quotes
Chloe: Where's my ID? God, I just had it.
Remy: Is it in your bra?
Chloe: Bingo!
Jess: So classy.
Chloe: Look who's talking. At least I wear a bra.
Jess: Well, at least I need one.
***
"I've seen 'what commitment leads to, and it isn't pretty. Going in is the easy part. It's the endings that suck."
***
"You can never go from going out to being friends, just like that. It's a lie., It's just something that people say they'll do to take the permanence out of a breakup. And someone always takes it to mean more than it does, and then is hurt even more when, inevitably, said 'friendly' relationship is still a major step down from the previous relationship, and it's like breaking up all over again. But messier." 
***
"Love is needing someone. Love is putting up with someone's bad qualities because they somehow complete you."
***
"Love is an excuse to put up with shit that you shouldn't." 
***
Remy: What's with the camera? 
Dexter: Defective shipment. Somebody at the main office left the box out in the sun, so they're all warped. Management said we could have them, if we wanted them. Kind of like the tangerines, you know. Can't turn down free stuff.
Remy: But will the pictures even come out?
Dexter: Don't know. They might. Or they might not.
Remy: They won't. The film's probably ruined from the heat.
Dexter: Or maybe it isn't. Maybe it's just fine. We won't know until we develop it.
Remy: But it's probably a total waste. Why bother?
Dexter: That's the big question, isn't it? That's the whole problem here. I think they just might come out. Maybe they won't be perfect - I mean, they could be blurred, or cut off in the middle - but I'm thinking it's worth a shot. That's just me, though.
***
"Love is so unpredictable. Sometimes you'll know a man for years and then one day, boom! Suddenly you see him in a different way. And other times, it's that first date, that first moment. That's what makes it so great."
***
"No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something up in order to gain something greater." 
***
Remy: I just think that you have to protect yourself. You can't just give yourself away.

Mom: No. You can't. But holding people away from you, and denying yourself love, that doesn't make you strong. If anything, it makes you weaker. Because you're doing it out of fear.
Remy: Fear of what?
Mom: Of taking that chance. Of letting go and giving into it, and that's what makes us what we are. Risks. That's living, Remy. Being too scared even to try it - that's just a waste. I can say I made a lot of mistakes, but I don't regret thing. Because at least I didn't spend a life standing outside, wondering what living would be like.
***
"Maybe a marriage, like a life, isn't only about the Big Moments, whether they be bad or good. Maybe it's all the small things- like being guided slowly forward, surely, day after fay - that stretch out to strengthen even the most tenuous bond."
***
 "Maybe, you just misplaced it, you know? It's been there. But you just haven't been looking in the right spot. Because lost means forever, it's gone. But misplaced...that means it's still around, somewhere. Just not where you thought."
Rating: 5/5

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