this book is not about space
my first thought when I first heard the title of this book: SPAAAAACE!!!
this book is not about space.
Life in Outer Space is about as far away from life in space as it can get--it's the story of a shy, nerdy, Australian sixteen year old, his friends, and the struggle of growing up and changing. I didn't know what to expect when I picked it up after another blog recommended it, but I'm glad I did. Why? Because this is one of the sweetest little romantic/real life books I've ever read. Right up there with Eleanor and Park. I might even like it better than Eleanor and Park, because it's different. It's not set in the past, it's not heavily laced with language, and as much as I love Park, I relate to Sam so much more.
It says on the book jacket: "Then Sam meets Camilla. She's beautiful, friendly, and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own--and she's decided that he's going to be a part of it."
But then Sam wakes up. And he doesn't like the way things are changing, like a snowball down a mountain slope. He doesn't want to deal with that.
And then he shuts down.
Mike...what can I say about Mike? At times, he felt dreadfully absent from the story (but that's just his character, I suppose), but he also felt more developed than Camilla. The relationship between him and Sam is one of the hilarious and guy-iest friendships I've ever read. I love that, although it does play a good part in the book, Mike's sexual orientation is not a MASSIVE dramatic deal (yes, this book has a gay character in it. You have been alerted.) I'm also thankful that we avoided the terrible "I'm gay and in love with my best friend" trope, because that would have been unnecessary on all parts and waaaaaaay too heavy in the drama department of life. I also loved that Mike had other issues besides his sexual orientation--i.e., trouble in school, frustration with his friends and their idiocy, quitting judo for other reasons than a guy...he was a very real character, just a little underdeveloped.
|I love that I'm using this gif for Mike, of all people... XD|
I don't know what to classify this book as. It's not just a romance. It's not just a "guy" book. It's not just a girl book. It's not just a comedy. It's not just a coming of age story. It's all these things, wrapped up in something that resembles a Chipotle burrito made of words. It's substantial and it'll satisfy your craving, but you'll gobble it up fast because it's made up of such delicious words. I can almost guarantee you'll want more after taking the last bite. I know I did.
|tis magic. and good writing.|
Sam's life revolves around movies. Well, maybe not revolves. But they definitely are a big deal to him. He loves to dissect them, he loves to watch them, and he loves to quote them. And I can't go through this book without picking out a few of my favourite quotes. I just can't. I will try to use self control, though.
"I'm tired of not knowing things," I mumble.
Dad chuckles. "Yeah? Get used to it."
"You smell like cigarettes and...fajitas?"
"Yeah. I've had a weird day."
Mike lifts the ice pack and frowns at my face. "So which movie inspired this piece of brilliance?"
I attempt a scowl. "Not everything in my life is inspired by a movie, Michael."
Mike stares at me.
"So. Are we concocting some elaborate scheme where we pretend to be twins to get your parents back together?"
"Am I supposed to know the reference?"
"Dude. Parent Trap."
"Isn't that a Disney movie?"
"How gay are you, Mike?"
Mike snorts. "My cousin made me watch it last time I babysat. It was possibly the stupidest thing I've ever seen. Anyway, doubt we could pass for twins."
"Yeah. You can't pull off blond."
"You'd look even more emo with dark hair."
“I think, because…well, I like the idea of coming up with a story that never existed before, but I don’t really want to be in charge. I don’t want to be famous. I guess I like the idea of sitting in the dark and knowing that I created the thing on screen, that it’s my story, but, like, no-one else has to know it was me. Does that make sense?”
Her heavy winter coat is damp from the rain, and it feels like the actual Camilla is somewhere miles beneath layers of wool--but it is still her. And she is home. I want to tell her that I'm happy she's back, but the first words that slip out of my mouth are bizarre, even by my standards:
"You were gone for too long."
She pulls loose from my arms a little and peers up at me. Her face passes through a bunch of different things. For a rare second, it is serious. "I know."
"Everything just feels really...tilted," I mumble.
She squeezes my hand tightly between both of hers. "I'm sorry about your parents. I'm sorry I wasn't here when it happened. I'm sorry it's rained for ten days straight."
She grins. "And you, Sam, look great! How does it feel being an Imperial henchman?"
"Awesome. I am ready to crush all uprisings with my mindless conformity and surprisingly crap aim."
"You. Here. Sitting in a corner all by your lonesome. You're going to make me be incredibly cheesy. You know what I'm going to have to say."
She leans a little closer. "Nobody. Puts. Baby..."
"Camilla, I'm sort of, a little bit..."
"Sam, are you really going to make me finish that line?"
"...a little bit completely in love with you."
Objectively, I know the world continues to spin. The music hasn't stopped. People haven't frozen in place. There is nothing to mark that everything has changed.
"Camilla, you're one of the best friends I've ever had. You're smart and amazing and weird and probably the most beautiful person I've ever seen...and before I met you, all I wanted was just to fast-forward through everything. But, really, I think my life was just paused, or something. You...made me press play. You made everything move. And no matter where you go, or whatever you feel about me...I will love you forever for that."
Life In Outer Space was adorable and made me giggle and almost cry and I just really loved it. I mentioned this scene above, but I think my favourite part was when Camilla intervened (wow, there are a lot of best-friend-you-don't-know-what-you're-doing interventions in this book, aren't there) and sent Sam on mission after mission, to just to keep him going. My parents have never separated, unlike Sam's, but I've dealt with some pretty hard stuff in my teenaged life, and there were times when I just wanted to have a friend kick me in the rear and make me get out of my fetal position and go do something. I've only had one friend do that for me, and I have to say--it changed my life. I can't imagine how I would've made it through the past year without that friend telling me to keep pushing myself. So that part of Life in Outer Space especially spoke to me. But overall, it's an amazing book, and I recommend you go pick it up and read it.
Because, you know, nobody puts baby in a corner.