RTW: Best Book of June
From YA Highway:
Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question to write about on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This week's topic:
Best Book of June
First question: what happened to June?
I've read seven books this month, a decent number. It might have been more but rereading THE HANDMAID'S TALE for book club slowed me down a bit. And the truth is, I haven't quite finished the book I'm choosing for Best Book, although I'm sure I'll finish before the end of June. In fact, I'm sure I'll finish by the end of Wednesday.
You might be asking this question: Hello, where has she been? Well, I've picked it up at the bookstore and set it back down dozens of times. There was just something about it that didn't quite grab me.
I recently read Oliver's DELIRIUM and am on the library waiting list for PANDEMONIUM. And then one day while browsing at the library on my lunch break, I found BEFORE I FALL.
I don't even know what to say, where to begin. I liked DELIRIUM a lot - strong writing, compelling characters and situation. But BEFORE I FALL? Wow.
What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.
The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
Okay, before I go any further, you need to know this: I love Our Town. A lot. Easily my favorite play. Many years ago, a very young Eric Stoltz and Penelope Ann Miller starred in the play at Lincoln Center, which aired on PBS right after I'd read it for the first time. If you're not familiar with the play, here's a blurb from the official Thornton Wilder website:
Right up my alley -- bonus that it takes place at the turn of the century.Our Town explores the relationship between two young Grover's Corners neighbors, George Gibbs and Emily Webb, whose childhood friendship blossoms into romance, and then culminates in marriage. When Emily loses her life in childbirth, the circle of life portrayed in each of the three acts of Our Town--growing up, adulthood, and death--is fully realized.
Here's a scene from the Lincoln Center performance:
BEFORE I FALL is vastly different from Our Town in setting and character, of course. But while Sammy in BEFORE I FALL is reliving her last day once again, she says something that immediately brought Our Town to mind (I can't find the passage at the moment): she asks her friends if they could pick any day to be their last, which would they pick? Similarly, Emily in Our Town is given the opportunity to return to one day of her life.
I'm completely fascinated by how Samantha grapples with what's happening to her, how her days unravel, how we see these endless layers of her personality as she relives that last day again and again. The revelations about her friends, about herself. The layers of true feelings, even if they aren't pretty. Her relationships. It's amazing. Have you read it?
I'm going to have to read Our Town again. And see if I can get my hands on the Lincoln Center performance.
"Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anyone to realize you." -- Emily, Our Town
What was your Best Book of June?