Characters really make the story...

| | Comments (8)
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'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


Kayla Lesko said:

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.

Jessica Orlowski said:

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.

Jessie Author Profile Page said:

Kayla--I can understand why you would say that the characters are somewhat annoying. However, for me, their personalities were what made this book an enjoyable read for me. Sure, each of them is clearly a little nuts, but I think it really adds to the story. And, I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that most teenage girls go through a phase where they're a little crazy...I'm not saying I ever wanted to kill cats or thought to burn my house down or talked to an empty chair--I'm just saying that Williams is showing that people deal with their drama differently. I think she did an excellent job with her characters' personalities.

Jessie Author Profile Page said:

Jess--Are you sure Alice only wants to kill Zipper? I mean, it's really obvious that she doesn't like Zipper, but I'm pretty sure she makes it blatantly obvious that she hates the entire species. Also, every time Annabel sees a poster for a missing cat, she automatically assumes it was Alice's doing.

I like what you're saying about Annabel. She did grow on me too. She's just not my favorite between the three girls. It's a tie between Alice and Corvus right now. I like Alice's outspoken nature, but I also like Corvus' quiet nature. I'm really excited to see how each of these girls develop through the rest of the book.

Carissa Altizer said:

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...

Jessica Orlowski said:

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).

Jessie Author Profile Page said:


I think the only reason I didn't blog about Ray in my entry, was because he confused me so much. The whole thing with the "monkey in his brain" was almost TOO weird for me. At the time, I didn't know what to make for him, and we really didn't read much about him. He came at a weird time in the book. I was must more concerned with the story about Alice and the other girls. Even now, I feel like I don't know what his whole purpose was. You're right that he was a fascinating character, but I spent most of the time confused when reading the parts from his point of view.

Jessie Author Profile Page said:

Good point. I remember Josie talking about this in class too during our group discussions. Alice basically hates cats because cats really don't need us. There are other references to things that don't need people. I think there was a section where someone (was it Emily?) was talking about how she isn't too fond of sunsets, because she feels like they don't need us to talk about them and praise them. They just are what they are. Cats are the same way. They're just around. I have four, and I totally understand the idea of them taking away their owners responsibilities. Although, as my cats grow older, they've become a lot more needy--of affection, but it's always on their terms, not on mine. I think that's another reason that Alice doesn't like cats--they make their own decisions, even with their owners. They kind of give off the vibe that they Own us.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.