Tuesday, 15 October 2013
Love Is The Higher Law - David Levithan
Synopsis: On the seemingly perfect morning of 11th September 2001, the lives of three teenagers are altered permanently. Claire is at school, her first thought is that she needs to get to her younger brother. Jasper wakes up to frantic phone calls from his family and Peter, a classmate of Claire, is waiting outside a record store for the new Bob Dylan record. None of these teens know each other well at all. Yet in the years that follow, they will become best friends all shaped by the catastrophic events of 9/11.
Review: I was 6 when 9/11 happened so as you can probably guess, I don't particularly remember much about that day only what my parents have recounted. They said it was strange because there was something about me that was different from the young schoolgirl in the morning to the Rebecca in the evening. I knew something big and horrible had happened, I just didn't understand what. Everyone I think has their own 9/11 story because of the horrible, horrible events of that day. For me, experiencing and growing up in the aftermath of 9/11, no amount of documentaries, news broadcasts and stories I consume will make me understand that day. I may have not been in New York that day, but there were plenty of people who were.
Which is where Levithan's novel comes in. It is told from the point of view of three teenagers - Jasper, Peter and Claire - as they tell their stories of that day, the aftermath and the years proceeding that day. All this is done in a way where it's like you are there, leaving within the moment that they are, seeing it all happen again. You are quite literally immersed in the story, which is both amazing in writing but also horrible in putting you there within that terrible moment, experiencing it again.
This book is simply beautiful in many ways. It is short with only 160 pages which is exactly how this book needed to be. The writing is so focused on the enormity of this event for the three protagonists that the messages and voice is felt from the very first line. I finished this book feeling quite different from when I started it, it makes an impact that is both emotional yet somehow positive (it's incredibly hard to explain this so yeah, sorry if that made like no sense).
Claire, Jasper and Peter are all such different people with really no real, tangible connection yet somehow their lives become intertwined with one another in a rather lovely way. From this emotional, troubling event, there comes this glimmer of hope. As I think I read somewhere in a review for this book, while you're so disgusted and horrified at this dreadful event, there's also this hope that equally intertwines and becomes more prominent at the story progresses.
This is a short book. And if only for that reason, this is a book that everyone should read. Whether you remember the events on 11th September 2001 or not, this book resonates with anyone and everyone and should be appreciate far far more than it is currently. This is an incredibly hard book to review and to properly describe the magnitude it leaves you with when you finish the last page. All I can say is this is one of the most beautiful and well written books I have read in a while.
I give this a 5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://www.davidlevithan.com/
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
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