A girl and her cat take on the world with nothing more than a cup of tea and a good book and enough dreams to fill the universe.
I’ve finally fallen back into my happy world of fiction reading. These forays into nonfiction reading have been informative, but they’re exhausting. There’s so much to learn from those books and they slow me down when I’m reading. It’s worth it, but sometimes I just want to lose myself in an excellently crafted narrative of a person who only exists in the minds of the writer and the readers. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to my most recent piece of reading: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.
I’ll Give You the Sun is so amazing, as I’m sure many of you already know. I’m only on page 56 and I am in love with it. Book hangover, here I come. It’s about this set of twins, Noah and Jude. Noah is an amazing artist, and so is Jude, but she’s not as talented as Noah. Jude is everyone’s favorite though, being bubbly and popular and likable. One of the things I like best about this book so far is the sibling dynamic between the two of them. It’s so incredibly realistic. My younger sister and I are very close and I see parts of us in Noah and Jude. They play horribly cruel games about who would their dad or mom save first if they were both drowning. These are not games that my sister and I ever played, but I think that my sister and I have both had our worries about our parents’ favorites, if they had one. It feels so natural to want to be so loved and, while it’s not a competition, when you’re ten and thirteen, it can feel like one.
Noah also feels like he and Jude are two parts of one whole and I feel that way about my sister sometimes too. The only piece that I don’t relate to so far in the sibling dynamic is Jude’s awful deed towards Noah. (No spoilers here!) I can’t imagine doing something like that to my sister. Ever. I couldn’t deal with hating myself that badly. Out of all the people in the world, I know that Liz will tell me when I’m out of line or being crazy or how I shouldn’t have bought that ukulele, but she’ll also be the first one to come to bat for me and defend me – even if I’m really the one in the wrong. We’re together and we have each other. I can’t imagine a world without my sister, a world where she was cut off from me. I even struggle with thinking about how one of us will die before the other; that’s one reality I can’t come to terms with.
The other piece that I love about I’ll Give You the Sun is its incorporation of art and writing. Living in a small town in Wyoming, I do not get to visit many art museums, and when I do, there tends to be a very large collection of Western art which is not my personal favorite. I love the idea of these gorgeous drawings and the art critique that Jude goes under for her Broken-Me-Blob #3 made me laugh. Noah’s ideas for drawings that pop into his narrative strike me as familiar because mine manifest in unwritten stories and poetry. It makes me wonder how many people have these art thoughts and how many of them die in the brain before they ever make it to the page.
All in all, while I’m not even a quarter of the way through this book, you should definitely pick up I’ll Give You the Sun for your next read.
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No One Here But a Writer Who Gets Up and Try
Brian Marggraf, Author of Dream Brother: A Novel, Independent publishing advocate, New York City dweller
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Stefan Falke photographs artists who live and work along the 2000 miles long U.S.- Mexico border to document the vibrant culture of the region on both sides. All photos © Stefan Falke (use with written permission by the author only)