It’s the day after Lollapalooza and the only way I can cope with my sun burn and the 4.5 hour flight ahead is a book.
I’d already finished all the books I brought with when I stumble across a full sized book store in the airport. Bless you Barbara’s Bookstore.
So I stroll through the shelves, read the back of a thousand books (I got to the airport early, ok) and have a mental shopping cart of six titles. When suddenly, I see Nelson’s book in the corner. I’d like to think I’m hip, but I’ve never heard of I’ll Give You the Sun or Nelson. According to the back, I’m the only one. But I liked the cover and I’m trying to // expand my horizons// so I purchase it. And read it all on the flight home.
Wow. It’s been a hot minute since a book has been so intriguing while also being so beautifully written. If nothing else, Nelson is a genius with words. Let me elaborate.
I’ll Give You The Sun is about twins, Jude and Noah, who live relatively normal lives, but with remarkable creativity. Ruling the universe and building beauty. They take turns telling their story, spanning several years and several major life events, in a mostly non linear fashion. Noah wants to create, Jude wants to be seen by those around her. While they’re young, so young, they make some poor decisions and some terrible lies follow. It tears them apart and if they don’t untangle the mess they’ve created, they might never heal. Eventually, we learn everyone in the story is connected and we watch the power one small action can have.
Some of the elements of this story include: love, family, death, divorce, sexual identity, art, ghosts, and teenagers throwing a party. What else could you want?
But the true genius is in the writing itself. We see the world through the eyes of two different artists, and Noah in particular has a beautiful perspective. And perhaps the most surprising part of this whole experience, the writing made me feel. Not just the usual basic interest and enjoyment, but also some complex things. Noah’s confusion, Jude’s despair, the sculpture’s heartbreak.