Saturday, 13 June 2015

Book review: I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson

Towards the end of May I read a book called 'I'll Give You the Sun' by Jandy Nelson and it was a really good read.

The novel is about a set of twins called Noah and Jude, who are both artistic in different ways. The plot follows them through their teenage years and discusses the events that ensue throughout. I love the written style of the book. It goes back and forth between the twins, but has them at different ages from one another. Noah's perspective is from when they were thirteen/fourteen and Jude's is when they are sixteen. I think this works really well and allows everything to unfold in the best way it could.

Each twin has such a unique character despite the initial suggestion that they are completely alike. Throughout the novel their differences are portrayed more and more, and they seem to develop into two individuals rather than one single being, which is how they appear to begin with. This is the main struggle Jude seems to deal with in the book, despite other things seemingly coming first: her ability to find herself seems to be the main journey in the book, even when she seems to be looking for everyone else. Though at the beginning, Noah expresses himself fully through art, he completely closes up and it becomes difficult to understand what is happening with him. I think the fact that the older perspective is Jude's means that as he gets older Noah becomes more of a mystery until the ending of the book.

I just found the whole thing utterly gripping. I think I read it in about five or six days, and kept getting disappointed when I realised how late it was, putting it down until the following evening. There is no better kind of book than one that makes you want to read it constantly, and I'm so glad this was one of those. Even saying that though, I think I found Jude's sections more enthralling; I don't know, I think Noah's chapters give a lot of background information that give a greater understanding of Jude's chapters, but I think it was just her character that was bit more interesting. The way she goes from being unmissable in any place, to hiding herself away and not wanting to be seen. It's intriguing.

The title of the book is very significant, and a lot of the story actually centres very closely around it. Noah and Jude have been hypothetically been dividing up the world between them since they were very young, and Jude gives Noah almost everything, including the sun, in return for a picture he has painted. A lot of her later sadness is connected with her having given the sun away, and I think it's such a strong metaphor, and works so well throughout the length of the novel.

Some of my favourite (of sooooo many) quotes are:

'Mothers are the parachutes.'

'I didn't know you could get buried in your own silence.'

'She gives off light. I give off dark.'

'People think people are in charge but they're wrong; it's the trees.' (I really love trees, so I'd like to think this is true.)

'His soul might be a sun. I've never met anyone who had the sun for a soul.'

'A book with the wrong story in it.'

'Above all else: Do not think so much.'

'This is a most private kind of chaos, like the contents of his mind all spilled out.'

'I don't remember smiling at anyone like that in my whole life.'

'In one split second I saw everything I could be, everything I want to be. And all that I'm not.'

'It's amazing how what goes on in the head stays in the head.'

'Sometimes when they win, you win.'

'It's time to remake the world.'

'Maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people [...] Maybe we're accumulating these new selves all the time.'

'Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.'

'But this makes more sense.'

I would highly recommend this book. Reading it was an experience, and I think it's one that I'll definitely end up reading again.

What books have you been reading recently? Any recommendations?

Until next time.

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