The Friday 56: I’ll Give You the Sun

It’s Friday, which means I’m hooking up with Freda’s Voice for The Friday 56 and Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings. This week I’m reading I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, which was recommended to me by one of the members of my dissertation committee.

Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.

Age 13

This is how it all begins. With Zephyr and Fry–reigning neighborhood sociopaths–torpedoing after me and the whole forest floor shaking under my feet as I blast through air, trees, this white-hot panic.

And then pick back up at 56% (which is farther than I’ve read so far)

“He has a girlfriend.”

“You don’t know that for sure. He’s European. They have different mores.”

“Haven’t you read Jane Austen? English people are more uptight than us, not less.”

And now for a little bit of explication (less this week, actually)

The first thing readers should know is that I’ll Give You the Sun is told from the point of view of twins, and the narrator of the beginning is not the same as the narrator of the 56. And they’re different ages when they’re narrating their bits of the story. It makes for an interesting way of seeing how each of them interpret the same events, and how those events effect their present, and reflect or diverge from their past.

From the opening passage, we see that Noah is cast as a weaker character, running from two boys who are the “reigning neighborhood sociopaths.” That title leads me to believe that Zephyr and Fry don’t just torment Noah, but other members of their community as well. It’s also fairly clear that Noah is scared of them to the point of panic, but at least through his panic he has the presence of mind to run away.

In the 56, Noah’s sister, Jude, talks to the ghost of her grandmother. I know I usually choose passages from exposition that I find beautifully written, but today I wanted to highlight what made me chuckle when I got to the page. The only Jane Austen I have read to pull from here is Pride and Prejudice, which I love, and I can see how Jude would draw the comparison that she does if she has limited experience with modern European people. She’s also making a generalization about the people in the whole of the European continent (she also might be wrong about the boy in question).

What’s on page 56 of what you’re reading? 


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