Characters really make the story...

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She was never going to seek gainful employment again, that was for certain. She'd remain outside the public sector. She'd be an anarchist, she'd travel with jaguars. She was going to train herself to be totally irrational. She'd fall in love with a totally inappropriate person. She'd really work on it, but abandon would be involved as well. She'd have different names, a.k.a. Snake, a.k.a. Snow--no, that was juvenile. She wanted to be extraordinary, to poessess a savage glitter.

--Williams, pg 10

Williams does an excellent job with the development of each of her characters. Although Alice is a little quirky and possibly a little insane, she's really easy to relate to. Corvus, too, is easy to relate to, although I felt more empathy towards her than I did for Annabel over the loss of parents.

From the opening page of this book, I felt a draw towards Alice. She reminded me of myself at sixteen, acutally (until she plots to kill cats, because I love cats...). When I was in high school, I had a lot of thoughts similar to Alice. I wouldn't say I was an anarchist or anything, but I always voiced my opinions. I was outspoken, and determined. This passage--the dreams of Alice were not unlike my own at the age of 16. It's a pivotal time in a teenage girl's life. I don't care what people say, high school is not the best time of our lives...it's probably the worst acually. 

The only other thing I want to say about Alice deals with her determination to kill cats. She seemed like such a nice character up until that part of the story. Annabel even points out that if you love animals, you have to love all animals--no exceptions. One thing comes to mind for me too--didn't somebody say (I can't remember who) that people who torture/kill small animals (including cats) grow up to be serial killers? Just a thought--I mean, Alice is clearly a little disturbed, but she's had a rough life...right?

Corvus doesn't say much. I think that's what makes her such a strong character. She keeps it all pent-up inside, and Alice basically talks enough for the both of them. However, I feel for Corvus in a way I don't feel for the other two girls. I think it has something to do with Williams' use of the dog, Tommy. She uses Tommy's emotions to pull emotions out of readers. The way Tommy just waits for Corvus' mother really forces readers to empathize and sympathize. This was especially true for me--when my mom goes out of town, our toy-poodle, Cheelo, goes crazy. He expects her home at night, and will sit near the door for hours whimpering until I take him to bed with me. Luckily, he's not as big as Tommy...back on track now...

I don't want to say that I don't like Annabel, because I do, but I feel like she, like many teenage girls is very shallow. It really bothers me that she's plotting to abandon Alice and Corvus as soon as school starts in the fall. She's clearly grown attached to Alice, even if she refused to admit it. Furthermore, if she is so miserable hanging out with Alice, why doesn't she try to find some new friends? Surely there were at least a few other teenage girls at her father's parties...and it seems like they don't live in a very big city, so I'm sure there are other girls around town. 

Carter's quite the character as wel. I really like how Williams chose to keep Ginger in the picture by having her visit him. Williams does an excellent job of keeping the readers questioning exactly what Ginger is now. Is she a ghost? Or, is she simply made up in Carter's imagination? It really could go either way. At first, I was sure that she was simply a figment of his imagination, but if that was the case, wouldn't she know everything that Carter thinks/ does? Sure she calls him out for his homosexuality, but at the same time, she doesn't know everything that's going on. She could be a ghost. It would explain a lot as well. She knows things that Carter doesn't. Random things. I guess it's possible that Carter knows what she knows on a subconscious level, but the fact remains that this ambiguity really adds an interesting twist to the story.

The only other thing I really have to say about this book thus far is that I love it. As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. I can't remember the last time I read a book that was assigned for class and enjoyed it this much. I think Williams' ability to create such dynamic characters who are so easy to relate to, even with their messed up lives.

Click here for other reactions from my peers

8 Comments

I have to disagree with you and say that the characters ruin the book for me. They're just so annoying, not to mention nuts.

This was a great entry, Jess. I agree with many of the things that you're saying. First, Alice only wants to kill this cat, Zipper. If you noticed, though, Zipper is attacking small, helpless animals. He attacked a bird, a blatant symbol for freedom. Also, the cat is an obvious symbol for death (ancient Egypt). Perhaps Alice feels enmity towards the cat in the same way she feels enmity towards death.

I don't like Annabel, either... right now. She grows on me. I don't think Annabel would leave Alice if she could. She's grown too attached to the possibility that someone can identify with the death in her life. In a way, Annabel has lost two parents, just like Corvus and Alice. So, the girls are more connected than Annabel thinks, she just hasn't realized it quite yet.

I'm curious to know your opinion about Ray. I think Ray is one of the most fascinating characters for me. He wanders around with a 'monkey in his brain.' He sells strange little creature/animal carvings(?) called fetishes. His life seems like it is full of sadness and despair, yet, he rarely acknowledges it. He just picks up and avoids his past by getting caught up with yet another frightening stranger...

No, I actually changed my mind lol. On my blog (John Crimmins... Resurrected), Josie and I have begun to discuss about Alice's... distaste... for cats. It's interesting- I've come to believe that Alice dislikes cats because they take away their owners independence (thanks, Josie) and they have the power to take away the independence of other animals. I suppose that Zipper was the blatant example that showed how a cat can take away the life of another (particularly, a bird- a symbol of freedom).

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This page contains a single entry by Jessie published on October 1, 2009 1:18 PM.

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