Welcome bookies (book fans),
I have just finished a nice book by Sarah Dessen. It’s not the first one I have read by her, and it likely isn’t the last. I have read a few of her books and have enjoyed them all, some more than others. So let’s get started!
Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publishing Date: May 11, 2004
Book summary: “Sixteen-year-old Macy Queen is looking forward to a long, boring summer. Her boyfriend is going away. She’s stuck with a dull-as-dishwater job at the library. And she’ll spend all of her free time studying for the SATs or grieving silently with her mother over her father’s recent unexpected death. But everything changes when Macy is corralled into helping out at one of her mother’s open house events, and she meets the chaotic Wish Catering crew. Before long, Macy joins the Wish team. She loves everything about the work and the people. But the best thing about Wish is Wes—artistic, insightful, and understanding Wes—who gets Macy to look at life in a whole new way, and really start living it.”
Sarah Dessen often covers “deep” topics in her books. This one was not the exception. Macy is still grieving the death of her father. How does she deal with it? She strives to be in control of everything, to be perfect. She tries to be the perfect student, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect daughter and, to all outward appearances, she is. But Macy is far too aware of her shortcomings. What happens when she meets her polar opposites?
This book explores those friendships and seemingly negative influences. It challenges the biases of society weaving a story about how those “bad” kids help Macy realize she needs to fix her “perfect” life. Told from a fresh perspective and embracing the idea that happiness needs imperfection, this book helps the reader understand the emotions of those that feel insecure after a tragedy.
I’ll be honest. I shed a few tears near the end. I love how Macy doesn’t give up when she feels uncomfortable. She obviously isn’t a quitter. But when she sees how people can be happy despite chaotic situations, she decides to delve deeper. In doing so, she steps out of her… not comfort zone exactly, but her routine. She makes new friends and slowly makes up her mind about what truly makes her happy. She has one of those “slowly-but-surely” attitudes.
Her new friends from the chaotic Wish Catering (somehow still in business) see her quite differently from how Macy sees herself. She has been stuck in passive-aggressive relationships far too long and because of that her self-esteem is quite low. They help her see herself in a new light and don’t judge her due to their own abnormal backgrounds/experiences. You get a little bit of lightheartedness from the disasters that appear in their workplace at the last minute and the ingenious solutions from Delia, who thrives in chaos, despite always wishing for it not to befall her.
Wes, who is the love interest, is able to connect with Macy due to his experience with the death of a parent. Unexpectedly, he doesn’t share much about his feelings over that loss. You are given just enough to see how he can understand her. They slowly build up their friendship even as they are attracted to each other. I appreciate that because I don’t really like the instant love stuff. They understand each other more and more as they reveal one secret at a time in a very relaxed, no-judging series of conversations.
Macy’s mother relationship with her is emotionally constipated since they both have trouble expressing their feelings and are both trying to avoid dealing with any deep or delicate situations. That means that they also avoid talking about Macy’s dad’s death, who seems to have been the outgoing, expressive one. This is a bit backwards from the norm, which is that the female/mom is the expressive and affectionate one, but it is not too strange. What is strange is how much she rejects any attempts to emotionally connect with her daughters, but by the end of the book, this has been addressed too.
The most touching part of this book is probably when Macy makes the wrong decision. She doesn’t realize it is the wrong decision until the last moment when, despite her fear, she takes a chance to attempt happiness. As you can probably guess, there is a happy ending. It is a simple novel with no big surprises that I think most people will enjoy. On a 1-5 scale (5 being the best), I would give a 3/5. Worth reading, but I might put it off until I have some extra time. If you’d like to purchase this book, you can find it here. Keep an eye out for my next review! Also coming soon: my reading list.
So now it’s your turn! What did you think about this book? Have you read any other books by Sarah Dessen? Which is your favorite and why? Feel free to comment!