Thursday, 1 September 2016

This Book is a Painting - I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

"It's about magic." - Jandy Nelson, I'll Give You the Sun 

The above quote pretty much sums up this novel and yet, at the same time, it doesn't. It's about family and romance, art and alcohol, doughnuts and ghosts. It is essentially chocolate cake in book form.

Technically, it's two novels. The first is called The Invisible Museum and is written by Noah at age 13-14. The second is The History of Luck, by Jude, aged 16. These two stories weave in and out of each other, essentially giving us the before and after of the twins' story. It works brilliantly, the stories blending perfectly together. I love a good bit of hyperbole, and this novel is full of it. It's also packed with beautiful metaphors and stunning similes.

Jude and Noah are both complex characters who change so much after the tragic event that they almost become each other, and yet they don't. Noah is artistic and sensitive, whereas Jude is a superstitious hyperchondriac. Despite this, they are similar enough for you to believe that they're related. Their mother essentially nurtured the jealousy within them by pitting them and their art against one another. How do you compare paintings to dresses and sculptures? Would you ask a tailor to sketch you a sunset? They're both flawed, and we can see why.

There is romance (the novel practically revolves around it) all of which is a little too fast-moving for my taste. I like how it explores the way that love pushes us to the edge (and, occasionally, over it). Love doesn't only accomplish good. Bad things happen too. I liked Oscar, but I'm not sure he was ready to enter a proper relationship. I'm not sure he was reliable. 

(You're not sure?)

Okay. He wasn't reliable. Like, at all. 

I don't think Brian and Noah ready to be in a relationship either, but for a different reason. Brian was scared. I think he needed some time to grow and become more confident in himself first. Noah, meanwhile, was selfish about Brian's insecurities when he needed to be understanding. Like all of the characters in this novel, the love interests were not just the love interests. They had quirks. And I did like that, because too often love interests are unbelievably perfect. 

(Or, at least, we're told that they're unbelievably perfect.)
I recommend this novel to the world. Nay, the universe. 

Have you read I'll Give You the Sun?