Tuesday, January 3, 2012
The Book Addict Reviews: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult, Self-Esteem & Self Respect, Social Situations, Social Issues
Order Online: Amazon.com
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 4 stars
Borrowed from Library.
In A Nutshell:
Sarah Dessen is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, and this book just proved to be another reason why.
Perfection. It usually is seen as something to aspire to. But Macy is using her pursuit for perfection (at least her boyfriend Jason's and her mother's definition of perfection) as an excuse to not fully live. She follows her boyfriend through all of his intellectual and humanitarian interests, changing her life to be what he wants her to be. She comes home every night to have dinner with her mother and study for her SATs so that her mother does not have to worry about her the same way her mother worried about her sister.
But then, her boyfriend asks for a break after she tells him that she loves him, and she ends up doing one of the first impulsive things she has ever done--asking for a job with Wish Catering. And through Wish Catering, Macy started to learn how much she did not like her former "perfection." Macy started to learn how much she wanted to change her life--how does she convince her mother that her group of new friends have been a positive influence on her life? And how is she going to convince her mother that this change is for the better?
Overall, I loved the book but I really struggled with the Macy's mom's character. She was so clueless about her daughter's true feelings. She kept holding Jason up as a sort-of prize, and I guess in some ways he was. He was dedicated and motivated. He was safe since he did not seem to have any inkling of desire to want a more physical relationship with Macy. But he also made Macy feel less than. The excessive way she described his perfection and the negative way that she described herself in comparison to him bothered me. So when Macy's mom seemed to feed into that by talking about what a prize he was--I got bothered even more. Also, I get that studying and being responsible is important, but the way that Macy's mother had a complete meltdown when Macy had friends and started having a life really bothered me. The way she refused to listen to Macy--or even give Macy the time to try to talk to her--annoyed me and gave me food for thought as a parent. A long list of things that I do not want to do when my daughter gets to be older came from seeing Macy's mother as a parent.
And of course, no review of The Truth about Forever would be complete if it did not mention Wes. Wes is a little bit of a bad boy (he did go to reform school afterall), a little bit of an artist (okay maybe more than a little bit), a teenager who has taken on the adult role after the death of his mother. He is all of that and so handsome that all of the girls "swoo-oon" when he walks into the room. He is also one of the first people in Macy's life (particularly since her dad's death) to really listen to her--to care what she really thinks and to push beyond the "fine" answer to everything. It is hard not to love him and love the change he helps bring out in Macy.
But he fell into a pattern that I have noticed in a lot of Sarah Dessen's writing (I do not mean that as criticism--just observation). Rather than telling Macy that he was meeting with his girlfriend to break up with her, he tells Macy he cannot hang out because he has an appointment. He is acting more awkward and secretive than he has with Macy ever. So when Macy sees him with his girlfriend, she thinks he was awkward because he did not want to tell her that his girlfriend was back in the picture. So their (Macy and Wes's) relationship must be over. All of the drama that came after that could have been avoided with honesty, with a little Truth--which is ironic since their relationship developed through a game of Truth. Thus I was left with the overwhelming desire to shake Wes and say "just tell her the Truth--like you have been doing the entire time until now!" I was optimistic though because knowing Sarah Dessen's writings, I knew the truth would eventually come out so Wes and Macy could end up together.
I already have my next Sarah Dessen book from the library!