Saturday Spotlight is a weekly feature in which I honor a book, character, or author that has consumed my mind and may be the cause of future therapy sessions.
After finishing Eleanor and Park, I vowed never to put myself through any other beautifully disastrous book ever again. (Not that it was disastrous – it was just so beautiful that I turned into a disaster.) Rainbow Rowell ripped out my heart and burnt it, then threw the ashes right back into my face. I walked around like a zombie for weeks after finishing that book. Only after reading Fangirl (and realizing that Rowell could write nearly as much good as she did evil) did I begin to recover.
This week, though, I not only broke my vow about destroying my capability for happiness through literature, but I broke my only other sacred rule: Never cry over fan fiction. (Remind me to blog about that experience another time.) To cut a long, long story short, I read Twist and Shout, and I cried for about three hours straight. And not just pretty tears of sorrow. I’m talking ugly sobbing where fluids are leaking out of every crevice on your face and you can’t breathe and you can’t talk and you give yourself a headache because you’ve squeezed out every milliliter of liquid in your body.
Anyway… Following that horrific experience, I couldn’t read anything else for almost a week. I was just too sad. I felt betrayed as a reader, left entirely vulnerable to the evil intentions of sadistic authors.
But then I stumbled upon Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, and everything was okay again.
I can see the irony in all of this – it’s pretty hilarious that the very person that destroyed my trust in sad, romantic novels in the first place ultimately helped me to overcome a reading slump at the hands of another heartbreaker. Still, I spent the entire book waiting for her to stab me in the back and ruin my life forever.
She didn’t. Carry On is not like the other books. Carry On will not leave you in tears without a goodbye; Carry On will hold you tight and stroke your hair and tell you that everything is going to be okay.
In any case, Carry On is epic. It has a bit of a Harry Potter vibe going on, but not so much to make die-hard fans angry (I checked with my sister – the ultimate I-would-die-for-Hermione fangirl and expert on all things Hogwarts). The magical aspect is done in a very different way to that of the Wizarding World.
Don’t even talk to me about the characters, because I will go on for hours about how much I love Baz, and how dumb but adorable Simon is, and how Penelope Bunce needs to become my best friend immediately.
I try not to recommend over-hyped books, but in Carry On’s case, the hype is there for a reason. It’s gorgeous.
(I’m working on a review, but may only have time to post it after my orientation week at uni is over.) (If I live through it.) (I’ll post the link here if I do.)
About the author:
Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.
When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.
She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.
More at rainbowrowell.com.