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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays 2: A Thoughtful Book Review

I recently finished What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. The message of this novel is actually a lesson that I had to learn myself, but not to the extreme of the protagonist Mclean.
As Mclean reaches the end of senior year in High School, she has obtained five identities.Her habit of giving herself a new name and personality was a coping mechanism with the many moves forced on her since her parents' divorce. As if a divorce was not complicated enough, Mclean also deals with fear of attachment. The many names she creates give her a way to avoid her own indentity. In truth, the real problem Mclean faces involves what she wants and who she is.
I have always loved Sarah Dessen's books since the moment I discovered Just Listen and found a favorite in This Lullaby. Each novel invites the reader into a psychological journey of dealing with difficult situations. Mclean is supposed to be the average girl, and on the surface, people would be impressed by all the activities she joined, and all the feats she accomplished; but, because Mclean refuses to get close to anyone, she has no true home within herself. One of the best scenes in this book, is the big reveal, when Mclean's new friends discover her many profile pages and she is forced to realize her true identity. I can relate to this, because my coping mechanism to avoid being close to others was to adapt to my favorite characters from books and television. After pretending to be a character who was too extreme for my personality, I realized that I had to learn to be myself and trust others. Mclean learns this lesson through the failure to create a new bogus identity when she moves to Lakeview, and her attempt to claim a new persona fails more than once. But the thing about Mclean's story is not only about the importance of discovering your identity. The true heart of the book involves the matter of creating a home for yourself.

One of the best quotes from the book is the revelation Mclean has about the real definition of a home.

"Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place but a moment, and another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go." (Dessen 364-365)

After reading the entire book, this quote stayed with me. Mclean's journey to discover herself is well worth the read for anyone who feels like they have no where to go, or even people who don't know their true persona. I give this book five out of five Blueberry Banana Brain Freezes. Mclean's story is a wonderful insight to the sanctuary you must find within yourself.

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