I love it when a book gives you different perspectives of events. It’s not third person omission when you’re fed the point-of-view of different characters at once. I’m talking about alternating first-person chapters. Like Nick & Norah. That’s what Wendelin van Draanen did in her young adult novel, Flipped. You’re introduced to Bryce Loski, a bashful boy finding his place in the world and setting off to become the person he’s supposed to be; then there’s Julianna Baker, the outgoing, intelligent, philosophical girl next door who crushes on Bryce.
Whenever I read young adult, I’m always transported back to my youth. Adolescent me related to Bryce’s cowardice, scoffed at his poorly defined idea of beauty, and wanted to slap him about not realizing that Julianna is a choice girl. Then I found myself reminiscing about how different I felt around my peers. How I had friends but didn’t really have close friends (not at that school anyway, and not until Miranda and Monica pretty solidified themselves in my life).
The way Wendelin van Draanen molds her characters’ voices and the circumstances she creates from them, carving them from just words, makes them real. She sprinkles comedy throughout the book that remains serious on issues such as prejudice, social norms, beauty, and acceptance of others. While having a few of her books in our department, I never once picked up anything by her. And after I watched the movie based on the book, I just had to read it. I’m glad I did. Because now I’m off to check out her other works—I’ve had Runaway in my cross-hairs for some time.
About the book (via Amazon):
The first time she saw him, she flipped. The first time he saw her, he ran. That was the second grade, but not much has changed by the seventh. She says: “My Bryce. Still walking around with my first kiss.” He says: “It’s been six years of strategic avoidance and social discomfort.” But in the eighth grade everything gets turned upside down. And just as he’s thinking there’s more to her than meets the eye, she’s thinking that he’s not quite all he seemed.
This is a classic romantic comedy of errors told in alternating chapters by two fresh, funny new voices. Wendelin Van Draanen is at her best here with a knockout cast of quirky characters and a hilarious series of misunderstandings and missed opportunities. But underlying the humor are two teens in transition. They are each learning to look beyond the surface of people, both figuring out who they are, who they want to be, and who they want to be with.
by Wendelin Van Draanen
Ember, Reprint edition 12 May 2003
Flipped is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. An e-book edition is also available for Kindle and Nook. Watch or own the 2010 film based on the book starring Madeline Carroll and Callan McAuliffe.
I don’t usually mind calling someone out when he serves no purpose to me or my life or my job—this is why I call my friends by pseudonyms whenever they say something I don’t agree with (and that’s only the Lizard King). However, the main subject of this post is kin to a friend (and not just a friend of a friend because I see no importance in my friend’s friends unless they’re my friends, as well) so I decided that it is in my best interest to remain “diplomatic” and address the subject by only his initials, TM.
The government decided to shut down earlier this week and the onslaught of tweets and status updates dared anyone to ignore it. And, of course, no one did. Both sides blamed the other, even though it’s blatant that this is the fault of the Lord and Savior, Ted Cruz (by the way the Tea Party hoists this guy, you’d think Jesus came back). My Facebook timeline has become a clusterfuck of news articles that are misguided, slanted, or just fabricated (with the exception of The Onion posts, because if you can’t trust The Onion, who can you trust?).
Among my left-wing friends, X stated how the Republican shutdown is hurting the American people. His cousin, TM, made the snide remark, “[I’]m not hurt.” (Note: For own sanity, I have corrected his spelling and capitalization—housed in brackets—but not his grammar or syntax or his backward ideology.)
“I guess [it’s] always the [R]epublican[‘s] fault to you, [X],” he added.
X goes on to explain, “Not always…but there’s no denying that they bear the brunt of the blame for the last eight years. This is not the same Republican Party from the days of Reagan.”
But TM is having none of it, and his speech goes from Republican to downright bigotry:
“I have to tell you, and [I] hear that from every one person that is a [D]emocrat, because they attach them[selves] to that party bec[au]se they are homosexuals, lesbians, abort[ionists], or lazy people that think the gover[n]ment owes them something bec[au]se their grandpa was a slave and [I] have more to say but [I’]m working right now and can[‘t] be on [F]acebook. Lol.”
It’s a near verbatim comment that all Republican candidates give when speaking in front of the elitist or the stupid (who’s to say they’re a different bunch?). It was Mitt Romney’s downfall, anyway. And the incompetent Tea Party members slurp it up like Sasha Grey slurps up frappuccinos—what?! What were you thinking I’d say?
Judging by his profile picture, TM is a red-blooded, gun-toting, deer-slaying American man. He’s a man’s man who likes to hang out and knock back a few beers, making the occasional racist joke or two with his buddies who are also red-blooded, gun-toting, deer-slaying American men (no homo!).
X is disheartened, and so am I—but not for the same reason. We live in a world filled with information at our disposal, but if it’s not pressed between the covers a King James or a Rush Limbaugh, it’s not true or worth acknowledging.
“…you really believe that [TM]?” asked X.
“Yeah [they’re] (meaning homosexuals) humans like everyone but you don[‘t] tell me that you were born that way,” TM goes on. “Or think that because the color of your skin or bec[au]se [you’re] a homsexual need special right[s] to be protected from new law hate crime. There is a constitution for everyone in this nation and it covers every [A]merican. I have children and they are having their minds fill with garbage every day and night telling them or even us that it[‘s] okay. It[‘s] not ok.”
I weep for his children, but question what garbage he’s talking about. As a parent, he can control what information his children hear. He can’t complain about school because teachers aren’t supposed to discuss politics outside of class lessons (or religion, for that matter, but that doesn’t stop several Valley teachers from abusing their power). So what I’m trying to convey here is that the only garbage his kids may hear on a day and night basis is the hate-filled sort that spews from his mouth and fingertips. And he speaks of a constitution as if he understands it—which he doesn’t, otherwise he would know that rights that it’s supposed to protect are being violated in several states when it comes to homosexuals.
In his eyes, hate crimes are a special privilege bestowed upon the lazy (are I use the ‘n’ and ‘f’ words?) Democrats. They apparently choose to feel persecuted and demand the government solve all their problems. I felt I had to weigh in on this:
“I’m pretty sure lesbians are homosexuals, but that’s just me. And I’m neither. Nor am I an “abortionist.” When it comes to abortions, you can say that I would never have one (if I could, anyway). But I don’t believe that if something offends me, makes me cringe or cry at night (it does neither) then no one should be allowed to get one. My grandfather wasn’t a slave. He was a self-made man, granted that he was never rich. He taught me the best things in life are made by your own two hands (which is why I write, I suppose). I vote Republican when I feel the candidate can do a better job than “my party,” but level headed Republicans have been drinking the tea lately and they’re not so level headed. Which is funny that you say we feel the government owes us something because isn’t that the ideological beliefs of the Tea Party?”
His response? “You are not a rep and you probably never will be.”
He makes it sound like it’s a bad thing that I’m a considerate person and that’s the only reason I will never be a Republican. But he goes on, “And if you would see the [truth] you would think [differently].”
What truth, though? Because it seems that TM lives in a world of fantasy where no one judges a person by the color of their skin or who they fall in love with. A world where hate crimes are unnecessary because they only give special rights to minorities instead of protecting them from being mistreated by assholes with a similar mindset as his. He’s a part of an ever growing league of morons who believe a person willing chooses a life of hardship and persecution because it gets them special treatment. I tried to reason with him:
“So you’re saying “hate crimes” are a gift from the government? So it should be okay if we, say, beat someone to death because [they’re]* gay and we’re not? [Or] lynch a black guy for being, say, black. Or maybe something not that extreme. How about we just don’t give them housing. I mean we have a place to rent (hypothetically), but only for white, straight Americans. Because anything else is sub-par.”
“You didn’t see what I wrote or you just see what you want,” talk about the pot and kettle, hu? “We have a constitution and that’s all you need to see.”
Republicans don’t do irony, apparently. The Constitution is the central argument in his farce of knowing much about anything. A historical document that gave birth to our country (well, sort of) written by a bunch of slave-owning white guys is all we need to protect our rights—so fuck new laws, right? Only no one imagined the freedom of slaves and how these former slaves may want equal rights. Or how women may want the same opportunities, control over their own bodies, and equal pay. Those wig-toting bastards should have predicted the future when they signed it, goddamnit!
“I’m afraid that just saying we have a constitution doesn’t mean you understand the Constitution. Or the times it was written in,” I replied. “I probably missed the lecture in government when our founding fathers discussed the possibility that two guys may want to get married.”
Of course, the irony of the last sentence soared over his head as he read it that I believe homosexuality is a choice, and we shouldn’t grant them any equality—or rather, continue to exist in a fog of delusion believing that the Constitution will do its job. But it doesn’t, because the Constitution is just a document (an important document, granted, but a non-breathing, non-living document that doesn’t pass laws or shouts out when discrimination happens). I wonder if he knows that Texas still allows to employers to fire someone for being gay. Or how this state also doesn’t allow an Atheist to hold office. I’m going to sit here and wait until the Constitution wakes up and does it’s bloody job. I may be here awhile. Better call into work.