Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

I've been thinking about what my friend Steven wrote in response to Walking Backward about the large quantities of books available to young adults dealing with grief and pain. Steven wondered if it is an attempt to prepare ourselves for what could happen. I wonder if it is so that people can find books that help them get through rough times. You can take comfort from knowing that others have dealt with what you yourself are dealing with. It is also a relief to have someone express your thoughts and feelings in writing if you can't do it yourself.
Hold Still does deal with pain and grief. Ingrid and Caitlin were best friends for years, like all best friends they did everything together and shared all of their secrets. But when Ingrid commits suicide, Caitlin is left reeling. She had no idea, no forewarning for what Ingrid was going through.
When Caitlin starts back to school she is numb to everyone around her. She doesn't want to make friends again because she doesn't know how to deal with people and doesn't want to risk getting close to anyone again. The thing she loved most was photography, but even that is letting her down now, everything reminds her of Ingrid.
Months later, Caitlin finds Ingrid's journal and starts to rediscover her best friend. As she relives moments they spent together, she learns about the pain Ingrid was hiding.
I cried my way through many parts of this book, the raw emotion that Caitlin feels while dealing with losing Ingrid and trying to find new friends was very heartbreaking.
One of my favourite parts of the book is when Caitlin describes how her and Ingrid would go someplace and take pictures of the same event, but have totally different perspectives on what happened. Caitlin learns that this is much like life. What she saw in Ingrid was totally different from what Ingrid saw in herself.
I'm not sure how I would feel reading this book if I had just lost someone close to me. I found it hard to read in many places because LaCour did such an amazing job describing how confusing it can be to lose someone you love.
This book does have some mature scenes and some language, but it is so powerfully written that it would be appropriate for anyone in grade 7 and older.

1 comment:

  1. i remember reading books from england around ten years ago that seemed to break through the barrier of protecting young adults from the many realities of young adulthood and not so much being shocked as surprised. i like your idea of books helping people see that they too can survive rough times. that a book can articulate what one is feeling inside. i just finished reading "the great wide sea" and thought it was really good. i just wished that some of the themes connected to the loss of the mother and the attempted suicide of the father had been fleshed out even further. the adventure was truly excellent.