Just Listen

Don’t think, or judge, just listen.

I’m still not sure what to make of Sarah Dessen’s latest book. I definitely enjoyed the unlikely combination of music, modeling, radio, personal secrets and… bacon! that the novel presents. The story was pretty amazing as well, with the exception of the ending, which I feel had too many good things concentrated. And I can relate to the wanting-to-quit-but-not-doing-it-as-it-would-disappoint-others state of mind. But like so many other times, I feel that here is an important lesson for me and I’m not getting it.

The idea that struck me most about this book is stated repeatedly in the last few chapters. Annabel’s conclusion and “lesson” is that people are not constant and should be taken “day by day” without making assumptions (e.g. that they hate you). This is a pretty amazing thought.

I am chagrined to admit that I completely missed the (oh so obvious!) reference to that other book of hers.

Unreliable quotes from the audio:

  • Like a word on a page that you’ve printed and read a million times, that suddenly looks strange or wrong, foreign. And you feel scared for a second, like you’ve lost something, even if you’re not sure what it is.
  • This is the problem with dealing with someone who is actually a good listener. They don’t jump in on your sentences, saving you from actually finishing them, or talk over you, allowing what you do manage to get out to be lost or altered in transit. Instead, they wait, so you have to keep going.
  • […] it was a total mystery, and sometimes one, I thought, maybe was best unsolved.
  • There has to be a middle. Without it, nothing can ever truly be whole, because it is not just the space between, but also what holds everything together.
  • There comes a time in every life when the world gets quiet, and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn to know the sound of it. Otherwise, you’ll never understand what it’s saying.
  • Pieces and parts were always easier to process. The full picture, the entire story, was another thing entirely. But you just never knew. Sometimes people could surprise you.
  • All my life, I realized, I’d only seen my parents one way, as if it was the only way they could be. One weak, one strong. One scared, one bold. I was beginning to understand, though, that there were no such things as absolutes, not in life, or in people. Like Owen said, it was day by day, if not moment by moment. All you could do was take on as much weight as you can bear, and if you’re lucky, there’s someone close enough by to shoulder the rest.
  • There was no short answer to this. Like so much else, it was a long story. But what really makes any story real is knowing someone will hear it, and understand.

You might wonder why there are no quotes from the first two thirds of the book. The truth is, I was pretty confused by the non-linear story telling and the references to the as yet undisclosed past to actually pay attention and mark passages…

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