Thursday, 12 November 2009

Say The Word by Jeannine Garsee

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pub. Date: March 17th 2009
Age Range: 12 and up
Format: hardcover
Source of copy: from author

Dredging up the past can knock the present right off balance.

The world expects perfection from seventeen-year-old Shawna Gallagher, and for the most part, that’s what they get. She dates the right boys, gets good grades, and follows her father’s every rule. But when her estranged lesbian mother dies, it’s more than perfect Shawna can take. Suddenly, anger from being abandoned ten years ago is resurfacing along with Shawna’s embarrassment over her mother’s other family. As she confronts family secrets and questions from the past, Shawna realizes there’s a difference between doing the perfect thing and doing the right thing.

I've not read many novels of this kind, but I'm quite confident to say that Say The Word is one of the most well written books about homosexuality. Told in a very unique point of view - daughter of a lesbian Mom, Shawna's story was true to the core, painful yet still beautiful.

Gloomy, bitter and full of unpleasant happenings were how I defined the book. The writing was neat and the subject was handled with absolute care, however; it didn't make the story feel too adorned. On the contrary everything was raw and ingenuous, something all readers are looking for in a book these days, especially YA releases.

I had fun reading this book. It was fast paced and all the thrilling events made me very keyed up to read on. So, in other words, Say The Word was unputdowntable. I kept telling myself to put off reading this so I could finish my homework, but I went on sneaking back just to read a little bit more. Consequently, I ended up ignoring homework to finish the book. The world created in the story was very interesting yet it was tough as hell. What would you do if your Mom left your Dad for another woman, totally abandoning you with a complete perfectionists who made you feel so suffocating you just wanted to explode? And then there were family secrets, unexpected intertwinement and fractured friendship, everything seemed to drown our protagonist deeper and deeper in hopelessness.

Shawna's character was interesting, partly because she had multiple personalities, partly because she was in such a dreadful situation her actions conflicted with her feelings. Perfect Shawna, Evil Shawna, Pathetic Shawna, you'd have a chance to meet them all in this book, knowing each side of the girl and how it affected her life. To tell the truth I liked Evil Shawna the most. I loved how she was bitter and sad, and sometimes did stupid things that pained others. I also took a liking to the fact that she could hardly accept the two closest persons to her were lesbians at first. It was convincing and very real. Even when some people said they were cool with homosexuality, they would find it harder to deal once it happened to the ones that actually knew. Or at least that was what I thought.

The ending was okay. It was not bad but I really thought Shawna deserved more than that. She was supposed to pursue her dream and get together with the ones she truly loved and cared for. After all she'd been through I really expected a happy ending. But I guess the ending suited the mood of rest of the book. It was sad. Also, it'd have been less forceful if Shawna and Arye spent more time together and shared more memories. They fell in love too soon and too hard it didn't make much sense to me.

Rating: 4/5


Laura said...

Excellent review, Thao!

debbie said...

I wanna read it :( can i borrow it ??

prophecygirl said...

I really like the sound of this, and I love the cover too. Thanks for the review, Thao, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Kate at Read This Book! said...

Sounds interesting! Might get it from the library someday... XD

-Kate at Read This Book!

Jeannine Garsee said...

Thank you for the review, Thao. :)