Story of a Girl

Story of a GirlStory of a Girl by Sara Zarr

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What befuddles me the most is how so few words, around 44k or something(I didn’t actually count the whole book, just figured out the average. I’m not that big of a nerd), such a short book,can convey so many emotions. Not cheerful or pitiful ones, but like this-is-my-life-and me-dealing-with-it-being-a-euphemism-for-me-screwing-it-up-further Yeah, I’m still reeling.

Sara Zarr is a minimalist in the truest sense. Little, short sentences appear to be her style. But the best thing I found is that the author seems so… detached, I suppose is the right word, from the story. Like, she’s just telling the story, people, she ain’t creating it.

So, Deanna life’s a bitch with the whole package: detestable father, screwed-up brother, HIGH SCHOOL, two best and only friends, one of whom she’d like for a bf, but as it happens, those two are dating each other. I mean, talk about shitty. Now add to that her history: She got caught humping in the backseat of her brother’s 17-year old friend’s car by her father when she was thirteen. Dayuuum… Can’t get worse. Oh but it does! Because her father’s an asshole and she starts High School the next day.

Three years later: Given up on making nice with father, brother is even more screwed-up, life’s same old shitty.

Deanna has been so neatly categorized as skank and just-plain trash by this time. By her parents. Her father calls her a slut- actually THE SLUT!- and the grapevine has twisted and turned what happened years ago. But she’s a good girl, really. She’s a good friend, student, daughter and aunt. But the world sees what they wanna see, right? And if she’s been all but dissected and then put again and figured and planned out by all these people, why not live up to their expectations? It’s not like anything will change. But somehow, Deanna rebels. She rejects these ideas, she fumbles around, makes her way, screws up a thousand times.

I experienced an urge to protect Deanna, the likes of which I have suffered one other time, whilst reading Teeth. Or rather,a killing urge. Because what really was going through my mind: rip out their hair and pour mustard in their eyes. After all, offense is the best form of defense.

Story of a Girl is emotional and sad, but not can’t-survive-this-shit sad. Nothing good really comes across Deanna’s path but she struggles, you know. And that is what this book is about. Not battling issues of abstinence or scars of teenage life or finding oneself. It’s just a window into someone’s life. It happens, you know. It’s happening. It’s life. Nothing more to it, nothing less. Usually in contemporary novels, I’ve seen it occur that the MC has been suffering for a long time and this book captures that time of her life when something untoward happens and things start going for them. This book is not like that; it doesn’t have a happy ending, nor does it need one. I know I’m not doing a good job phrasing my thoughts but I hope you get the gist.

This book actually felt real to me, more than all the other realistic novels I have read because I see this thing happening in my daily life. I see my classmates talking trash about this girl who got pregnant and I know my parents wouldn’t be understanding either had I made the same mistakes Deanna did. I know they’d never forgive me. So yeah, this book really struck a chord in me and I won’t be forgetting it any time soon.

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