Monday, July 4, 2011

sisterhood.

Have you ever had characters in a book really take up a place in your life?

My friend Sammi introduced me to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books one summer when I was around the age of sixteen. I loved summer reading, and when she found out I hadn't read the sisterhood books she promptly shuffled through her bookshelf and gave me the first one right then and there (it was one of a few weekends spent at her house in Minnesota instead of mine in South Dakota). I read and reread all four of them over the course of the summers following and have seen the first movie more times than I care to admit to the public.

Last January my friend Hanna asked me to buy a GroupOn to a small bookstore in Stillwater, about 30 minutes away from us. We traveled there this past week to use said discounted coupon and I found the book Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. The premise? "Four friends, one sisterhood...ten years later."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How had I never heard of this book coming out? Albeit, it is still solely in hardcover so it couldn't have been out long, but I didn't know about it at all. My anger is so silly, because there is no actual connection that I have to Tibby or Carmen or Bridget or Lena. I've never met or even seen Ann Brashares, the author. I'm not signed up for her author newsletter nor have I ever been to her website (if she has either of those. Laziness is causing me not to care to look.) Yet, I felt like I was personally abandoned because more information about these characters lives, these friends I met and knew and stayed up far too late to read about so long ago, existed and I was unaware.

Obviously that is the book I bought and this weekend I started reading it. And continued reading it. All of it. To the end.

You know when you are so invested in a book that once you realize you are on one of the very last chapters you somehow try to will yourself to read slower? You get a sense of anxiety thinking that it will end soon and you try as hard as possible to savor the words and moments? That is such a horrible emotion.

When a book's characters intrude your life at such a vulnerable state (puberty, the first crushes on boys that lead to boyfriends, etc) and they seem to be going through the exact same things, you keep that with you, possibly without even knowing it. The four girls' stories became my anecdotes. Their actions taught me what I should or should not do. Their tribulations helped me work through my own. I have really open, encouraging friends in real life, but sometimes the people authors write about are easier to relate to because you put yourself in their situations. Find a piece of yourself in their makeup. What would I do in a situation like this? Am I guarded and cautious like Lena? Do I jump into the unknown chaotically and without a plan like Bridget? Do I have set views and strong convictions like Tibby? Do I let my emotions make my decisions and document my life a la Carmen?

What I think was most heavily revealed in reading this documentation of the girls' lives ten years later was seeing that so much can change in those years. I've been noticing this more and more lately as it has started becoming my reality. People move away. Change jobs. Find their significant other. People build houses and families and new groups of friends. I've recently been thrust in this "adult" world and I honestly have no idea what that means. An insightful new friend asked me this weekend "When will we actually feel like adults? When does that happen? I thought it would happen after I graduated from college, graduated with my masters, but it hasn't. When will it?" I had no answers for her. I have no answers for myself.

As I'm writing this I'm remembering a conversation I had with a boy who sees the world entirely different than I do. He was asking a similar question about six months ago, and I told him that we would feel like adults on "July 30th. I'm not sure in what year, but that's definitely the day." I'll let you all know how that works out for 2011.

I think the point of this post is to tell you that this book is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be and everything that I needed. I'll leave you with a small passage that I appreciate:

"You get older and you learn there is one sentence, just four words long, and if you can say it to yourself it offers more comfort than almost any other. It goes like this...Ready?"


"Ready."


"'At least I tried.'"

1 comment:

  1. I read that quote two days ago and was trying to figure out where it was from! I love you, nae. and I love giving a date to adulthood. good luck this week! you are going to rock it.

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