Posted by: pianofingers618 | December 21, 2009

Just Listen

Okay, so I think that I am going to do a book review kind of thing. So the book is Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. This was the reprt that I did for my Seminar class on the book:

Just Listen is about a girl named Annabel Greene, who supposedly has the “perfect life” but truly, her life is far from perfect. Then she meets Owen, who is determined to get Annabel to tell everyone what happened on the night that she stopped being friends with Sophie.

            This book wasn’t that great. Just as a book, it was good: good characters, good settings, and an okay plot. But it had no “deeper meaning”. When I read it, I never really felt that anything stirred inside of me, or that anything was really close to home. I know that the whole setting could be, and is, very real, just the way that the author explained it made it all sound so unreal, and like it could never happen in real life. Like what happened could happen only in books.

            The style of writing was good, just not very interesting. The story was told from the main character’s point of view, and as a series of events. There really was not plot line, though, so reading it, it just felt like it was just there, instead of it actually having structure and definition.

            One of the things in this book that really turned me off was that I have read others exactly like it. Take Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, for instance. A girl gets raped, doesn’t tell anyone, who then meets someone that shows her that she can trust other people. That is the same exact plot-line. It just really made me mad, because Speak was a lot better than Just Listen, and it felt like Sarah Dessen was just copying Laurie Halse Anderson on everything. It felt like nothing in Just Listen was original.

            I have to admit, though, Just Listen had some great descriptions. Like when Annabel finds her older sister after her bulimic outburst in the bathroom: “…She was all bones. That was the first thing I thought. Bones and knobs, every bump of her spine protruding and visible. Her hips poked out at angles, her knees were skinny and pale. It seemed impossible that she could be so thin and still be alive, and even more that she’d been able to somehow hide this. As she shifted again, though, I saw it, the one thing that would stick with me forever: the sharpness of her shoulder blades as they rose out of her skin, looking like the wings of a dead baby bird I’d once found in our backyard, hairless and barely born, already broken.”

            That’s one part of the story that actually meant something to me. Because I can always imagine something like that happening to me: me being Annabel, and my sister being Whitney. That part of the story really scared me also because it is so real, and very, very true.

            Another part of this story that was disappointing was that only some parts were described well. Others, though, were just plain with not too much color to their words. They didn’t mean much, unless they were the random spurts that actually meant something. It kind of sounded like the author only fully described and colored the parts of her book that she felt strongly about. Like the bulimia scene, or the modeling ordeal at Owen’s house. So the other parts of the book meant nothing. They were just babbling nothings to fill the space of 371 pages, instead of having a shorter, but much better version of the same exact book.

            Then I come to the plot line. There was one, sure, but not very present at first glance. You have to actually think about it to find it. That’s okay I guess, I just like something as a base to what’s happening in the book.

            And then there’s the “deeper meaning” aspect of the book. I couldn’t really see any “deeper meaning”, but that may be due to the fact that I have not actually experienced any of what happened to the main character in real life. To someone who has been raped, or to someone who has an anorexic sister, this might actually mean something. But not to me. And what really gets me was that I was not prematurely biased about the book. Nobody told me “Oh, this book was really bad. You shouldn’t read it.” Actually, a good friend of mine told me that she really liked it. You would think that I would be actually biased towards the book in a good way, instead of me not liking it.

            Rating: 5

            Sure, I didn’t like the book, but it has potential to really mean something to someone else.

Obviously, I didn’t really like the book. The only reason was because it had no “deeper meaning” that my teacher is always talking about, and what makes a book more than just a book. I am very pressured to read A-list books, but it just  seems that I wouldn’t really like that kind of book. Who knows? Maybe I would. I really don’t know, I have just never really read one.

My teacher was happier with this book report than my last one. He was actually kind of surprised at this one, because before I had written it and turned it in, I had told him that I didn’t really like the book, so he thought that I would have totally butchered it with how awful it was and how it was not even close to an A-list book, and how I would never recommend it to someone else. I know that I didn’t love it, but I didn’t absolutely hate it either, and when I explained that to him, he totally understood me. Luckily. And since that is one of my harder classes, I was happy with how I did with that report.

Well, I gueses that when I read another book I will write another review about it! Okely Dokely! Ciao!


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