Thursday, October 15, 2015

the rest of us just live here // october TBR

wow.

just wow.

I didn't go into this book expecting anything but a wonderful read by Patrick Ness. I knew it was about the "ordinary" people of life, instead of the extraordinary heroes that always seem to be our protagonist. And I knew it had something to do with mountain lions.


I didn't expect this book at all.

the indie kids, huh? you've got them at your school, too. that group with the cool-geek haircuts and the thrift shop clothes and names from the fifties. nice enough, never mean, but always the ones who end up being the chosen one when the vampires come calling or when the alien queen needs the source of all light or something. they're too cool to ever, ever do anything like go to prom or listen to music other than jazz while reading poetry.  they've always got some story going on that they're heroes of. the rest of us just have to live here, hovering around the edges, left out of it all, for the most part.
having said that, the indie kids do die a lot. which must suck.


...confession time. I like the UK version better... 

if I wasn't already going to read this book because it was by Patrick Ness, that back-cover would cinch the deal.


(*aside* it is very hard to right this with my adorable baby niece across the room. this book was awesome but she's even more awesome.) 

In all my years of reading, I'd never seriously thought from an innocent bystanders perspective. I mean, when something crazy happens, I thought "I wonder the outside observers thought of that..." but never their whole story. never that they'd be aware of what was going on around them. never that they'd have other, more important issues on their minds.

saaaay wuuuuuut


this book made me aware of Mikey and Mel and Henna and Jared and their perfectly ordinary world, where the things that threaten them are more personal and close to home than the Immortals descending or a zombie deer apocalypse--though those things still take place. they worry about whether or not Mike and Mel's parents will actually care about them this year, or about the fact that Henna's going to Africa in the middle of a civil war, or that Jared's dad is running for Congress and his mom is the goddess of cats.

that's a bit more on the side of extraordinary, but whatevs.

there are also cats. lots of cats.


each kid has personal problems as well. Henna's lost a family member, Jared's gay, and Mel and Mike deal with their parents' neglect in their own harmful ways. they have to figure out how to come to terms with these issues, all while not being indie kids and avoiding the weird glowing lights.

basically, if you want a mental image of this book, think average nobodies plopped down in the middle of Nightvale with minimal explanation.


what I really love about this book was that not a lot of things actually happened--not huge, earth-shaking drama. It was the ordinary things of life--getting into college, telling the girl you like how you feel, taking your little sister to a concert...and I guess that's kind of the point. Each of these characters were so normal it felt like I could be living next to them and not even know it, but they all had parts to them--parent issues, mental illness, being a quarter god and having a bunch of cats following you around...as Dr. Luther says, "Everybody has something."

also, this.


this book isn't exciting. it's not got a lot of "umph" to its storyline, but the characters are made of up of strong personalities and broken dreams. And it has an unreliable narrator, so of course I love it. I actually didn't love Mikey all that much, mostly because it's always weird to read a book about someone with the same name as a family member (and even weirder to read about someone with your own name), but I did love Mel. I understood her distrust of everything and how freaking hard it is some days. And even though I didn't love Mikey the most, I did love the way his rituals and patterns were accurately portrayed. they can be painful to read, especially if you struggle with similar issues, but it's a very good presentation of someone who has an obsessive compulsive disorder.

A lot of times obsessive disorders can me simplified or dramatized, but the reality is: they suck. you're trapped in a never ending cycle of perfection, because if you mess up one detail, you're a failure and you have to start all over again. And the worst part is when you're aware of what you're doing. You're totally aware that you should stop. but you can't.


As a Patrick Ness book, the rest of us just live here did not disappoint. as a book about mental illness and being "nothing special" and struggling through life, it definitely connected with me. I give a strong 4 out of 5, and I'd give it more if it was longer. seriously. I got to know the characters, but I didn't feel like I got a chance to know them.

definitely one for you guys to put on your TBR lists!


4 comments:

  1. I need to read this book. Mostly because of that quote, I have anxiety and it sucks.

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    Replies
    1. same, man, same. I definitely think you'll connect to this book though!

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  2. Ughhh that settles it. I have to read this.

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