Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Story of a Girl

Bit late this week . . . sorry about that!

Book: Story of a Girl
Author: Sara Zarr
Published: 2007

Everybody knows about Deanna Lambert. She’s the girl whose dad caught her having sex with her brother’s best friend when she was thirteen and he was seventeen. She's a slut, a pathetic skank.

Except Deanna knows that nobody really knows about her. But what can she do? She’s been branded and filed away into the untouchable drawer by everyone, even her own father. The only friends she has are Lee and Jason, and even they can’t protect her from the slurs and whispers that are as familiar now as her own name. All she can do is keep her head down and make plans for her escape.

First in those plans is to get some cash flow, which means getting a job at the only place that’s hiring, Picasso’s Pizza. But then she discovers that her new coworker is Tommy Webber, the boy she was caught with three years ago. Now it’s her choice about whether she’s going to keep running away from the event and the actions that have defined her life since . . . or stay and face them.

The really cool thing about this book is that there are no angels or demons. Deanna is no falsely accused innocent--she really was having sex with Tommy Weber when her dad caught them. Even Tommy is a 3-D character, young and unsure and getting the story wrong. The central theme of the story is not Deanna "clearing her name," but coming to an understanding of why she made the choices she did, and finding a way to make different ones now.

And in the end, forgiveness and renewal are not instantaneous. It’s a slow process, as painful in its own way as the initial trauma that requires forgiveness.

This would be a heck of a novel for any author, but for a first-time author, it’s astounding. I can’t wait to see what Sara Zarr does next.

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