Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Loved Love, Stargirl

Alright my Book Club friends. I gave you a whole extra week to finish Love, Stargirl. The following are my first thoughts after reading it:
I was so concerned that I wouldn’t like Love, Stargirl as much as I liked Stargirl. In fact, I was quite hesitant to read it. And I was halfway through it before I was enjoying my read, and not just reading to get through it. By the end, though, I was touched and thrilled and excited. I loved it. I loved it just as much as the first book—maybe more. Because in the first book Stargirl is somewhat elusive. We know what she does, but we don’t understand much about who she really is or what motivates her behavior. This book opened up a window to her charming little soul and we came to understand her so much better. I was thoroughly impressed with Jerry Spinelli’s ability to do that. I look at these two books with the same main characters, and am super impressed with his ability to write from both Leo’s and Stargirl’s perspective. Here’s who I adore: Jerry Spinelli!

What did you think??!!


Kate said...

Here's what I wish...that I would have read these books! What's my deal. I need to get a handle on my life and brave the scary snow to go to the library.

Eric, Halcyon, Viana and Brooke said...

I think I need to borrow your copy!

Anna said...

Anne, I think it is interesting that you liked the book so much. It was really cool at first that I could see the real her, but it was also kind of sad to lose that mystery in Stargirl. In the first book I thought, 'How can I relate to her, in many ways she is so much better than me?' But in the second one I realize that she is just normal, trying to figure out an emotional side of life (like all of us).

In the first book is seams that she never really had a relationship with (many) people. She asked Leo, Why do people need to know who gave them a gift? That didn't matter to her. I think Leo gave her the opportunity to have a real relationship, climaxing at the kiss and 20 rocks in her wagon. The second book is about her wanting that back, but instead she learns to have real relationships with people rather than just give people cards or a song. She gives Charlie a donut then goes back later to let him know who gave it to him. As she develops these relationships more she is able to let go of Leo, or at least feel more comfortable in who she is and that she isn't with Leo. She even imagined that she could recreate the Leo relationship with Perry. Of course that didn't work - thank goodness! I almost stopped reading the book when they introduced the harem. That is just wrong! I think it was presented in a way that was too accepting of it. I applaud Stargirl for not falling into that SELF DEMEANING BEE TRAP! SICK. SICK. SICK. (Maybe this is just a person issue with a personal view. I once had a roommate that was involved in a serious relationship with 3 boys at once. They all knew about each other. It was weird to me. People didn't do that where I came from. They were considered skanks, and didn't have enough self respect and just gave their lips/bodies up for whoever was interested in them. This roommate had a lot of self respect though, so it puzzled me...) Anyway, I just thought that this was not the type of situation for Stargirl. She deserved a whole man (if she got one) and not a fourth of one like Perry. Come to think of it Leo wouldn't even give her his whole heart. I guess Stargirl shows us that the relationships that we had with those ex-boyfriends, even the jerks and the lame ones, can be good for us because we can reflect on the relationship and become better people because of them.

Sorry that was a rant. Other things and themes I found interesting include:

Time - throwing away the clocks was very interesting. I'm not brave enough to detach myself from the world that much.

The Sundial - Did you notice in the last book she meditated during the sunset, and in this one it was a sunrise? What is that symbolic of? I also loved the sundial and the winter solstice party. (That holiday shouldn't be so close to Christmas. It is hard to fully appreciate it.) She made all of these new relationships/friends now that she "owned" her service.

Rocks - I haven't thought much about this one. There is the pebble wagon and the rock piles.

Dootsie - haven't thought about it (for a while) but I think there is something there. One thing is the costumes were no longer on Stargirl but on Dootsie. Maybe Dootsie represents the girl Stargirl was...I'll think about it some more. Dootsie is in this book the connector like Cinnamon was in the other book.

Fear of living (in the now) - I think this was best exemplified by Betty Lou.

Others could be - donuts, Alvina, the oranges, what's-his-head from the rock pile, milk runs...

Those are my rambling and unorganized thoughts on the book for now. Does anyone have any thoughts on what I just said?
(Sorry Anne if this is too long. I didn't realize until...well here we are at the end.)

Mrs. Cropper said...

Anna, never apologize for writing so much. You always have SO many great thoughts and insights that I didn't even come up with! I love it. Hadn't thought about the sunset-sunrise connection or the rocks/pebbles similarity. Interesting. Oh and I love that you mentioned that Dootsie was teh connector in this book. Perfect. Exactly. Here are some of my favorite things/important moments in the book:
p. 45 “And so I’m me again, Leo. Thanks to the example of a five-year-old…I mean, to have a girl two thousand miles away from you going to pieces over you, weeping at the mere memory of you, losing her appetite, losing her self and her self-respect…You occupied my space. But because you were not in my present, when I looked into my future I saw…nothing. Isn’t that sad? And stupid? Well, I hope you enjoyed your smuggies while they lasted because it’s over now…I’ll still be—OK, I’ll say it again—loving you, but I won’t abandon myself for you.” (I could SO relate to that entry in the letter/journal. How many times did I go through that as a teenager/young adult?! It's such a pivotal moment in the book. And though she still isn't super happy, she is finally free...)

A fun literary bit:
p. 101 “I chewed time like a wad of bubble gum.”

p. 189 The fantasy interview with Leo about Perry… and “fixing him.”
How many people have you tried to "fix?" I've tried way too many times to fix boys. By the way, Anna, speaking of the harem, I agree. Lame. So glad Stargirl didn't buckle.

p. 195 Betty Lou to Stargirl: “You’re cheating yourself out of today. Today is calling to you, trying to get your attention, but you’re stuck on tomorrow, and today trickles away like water down a drain.”

p. 223 The realization... “I still love you. I don’t love Perry.” (another important moment)

p. 235 I love LOVE what she does with the oranges to lure the mockingbird to Betty Lou’s house! So great!

Some other bits I loved:
Love the truth about Perry. Love what Stargirl does for Alvina, Arnold, Charlie, and especially Betty Lou. And of course the crux—the Solstice celebration. It’s all just SO Stargirl—everything/everyone she touches is impacted forever.

liz said...

I'm having a hard time remembering details, I read this so long ago, and I've returned it to the library, so can't find any fun quotes. But. I wanted to say that I thought the same thing about Stargirl no longer being a mystery, so she lost her charm. Then I realized that the new mystery was Perry. Very effective, I thought. You kept learning more about him throughout the book, but he was never fully revealed, even when you knew the truth about him.

It was nice that unlike in the first book, Stargirl was able to find a community of people who supported her. I also enjoyed learning about her parents, which actually made her seem more credible as a character. Do you think that people in real life are as funny and quirky as they are in novels? A few moments of this book reminded me of the kooky people on Gilmore Girls!

Mrs. Cropper said...

I found myself asking that same question. Because Stargirl sure did find some quirky friends! So in some ways I think this book was tall-tale-ish like the first one. But, at the same time, I know some pretty quirky people--you know, the whole "truth is stranger than fiction" kind of people. So who knows...

LCM said...

I enjoyed this book maybe even a bit more than the first one. I liked finding out the mystery of Stargirl, that's why I read books, to look into someone's life. They are better than movies because you get their thoughts. I kept trying to see how she would fit in at North and I just couldn't see it. I liked how she was still unselfconscious. After things had gone badly before, she was still herself. I loved that she was unconcerned that a little kid was her best friend.

lbtruman said...

Just have to write about this book. It has been years since I read STARGIRL and remember simply loving the character and that Jerry Spinelli got high school right. But LOVE, STARGIRL had me in tears. Such beautiful scenes, Dootsie and Stargirl and their first shared sunrise:
"Does the sun do that every day?"
"Every day is sun day."
And every day is!
Jerry makes me think of Thoreau. "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." AND
"My profession is to be always on the alert to find God in nature, to know his lurking-places, to attend all the oratorios, the operas, in nature ... The love of Nature and the fullest perception of the revelation which she is to man is not compatible with the belief in the peculiar revelation of the Bible."
Henry David Thoreau

Almost worshipping the REAL source of light.