Monday, June 6, 2011
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Sixteen-year-old, music- and sound design-obsessed Drea doesn’t have friends. She has, as she’s often reminded, issues. Drea’s mom and a rotating band of psychiatrists have settled on “a touch of Asperger’s.”
Having just moved to the latest in a string of new towns, Drea meets two other outsiders. And Naomi and Justin seem to actually like Drea. The three of them form a band after an impromptu, Portishead-comparison-worthy jam after school. Justin swiftly challenges not only Drea’s preference for Poe over Black Lab but also her perceived inability to connect with another person. Justin, against all odds, may even like like Drea.
It’s obvious that Drea can’t hide behind her sound equipment anymore. But just when she’s found not one but two true friends, can she stand to lose one of them?
The acknowledgement starts with a disclaimer that it doesn't offer a definiton of Asperger's syndrome. Rather it's a story of one girl and her experience. OK I'll bite. I just kept wondering what it would be like to see the world as she does. Fascinating would be too strong a word. I'd be confused. Interacting with others and while having a hard time deciphering social cues must have made interacting with her an interesting thing. I did appreciate Drea's stratightforward manner. I found her go to response, of "I don't see the point in~" very close to the robotic one of "It does not compute." I don't think I was meant to be able to relate to her, but I did understand why she acted the way she did.
All that said, there really nothing "new" here and I found myself rolling my eyes once too many: I found her friendship with Naomi very kindergarten-sandboxish: impromptu (?) sudden (?) I don't know. but I liked how they clicked even if such a connection is unlikely to happen outside the pages of this book. Justin's from from bad boy to good boy background made him all the more interesting.
Should I take Harmonic Feedback as a simple story of a girl with her friends, a girl with her mother, and a girl with a boy or should I take it as a story of a girl with Asperger's syndrome and how that girl sees the world? A little bt of both, I suppose, because it is the last that affected the first.
Then add some music, a little (a lot of) after school specials and tada: not a bad read.