Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“It’s something [someone] in a movie would do, and it’s scary and delightful and hopeful and sweet… It may be the crazy-person thing to do, but at least it’s powerful and optimistic.”
(What is foreshadowing?)
That whole thing up there encapsulates my feelings for this book; there’s this step by step toward an a too-Hollywood happy ending that’s almost too perfect with its mix of sweet and sad and improbable. Because the ending is so “only in the movies” that that ending is, if nothing, impossible…. effectively killing most of the good feels building up in me for it.
But early moments first: frankly, ‘twas all those bits and pieces of her as girl-frustrating that worked best. It was how everything was a wreck for her and though we’re unaware “why” that was; at least in this one: she’s (trying to) move on anyway.
The way things kick off is “aftermath”; we’re plopped in the midst of her epilogue playing out. The Why? Who? How? are recalled. In the mean time: Her life moves on.
>And she’s in love (Or thinks she is.)
>And in the mean time, her mother and father are both hip-cool and are totally unlike any the other parental unit. (More accurately, like her, they are in transition. They’re the three of them in this in-between place that’s shaky and scary… but perhaps, necessary?)
>And in the mean time, she’s not friendless but not popular either, but still happy enough being the book-weirdo and not the tech-weirdo ( Except really, there’s this lonely vibe she’s sending out that had me sympathetic to what she’s going through and what she’s purposefully averting her attention from.)
And it’s because of all that, that I was drawn to this... but Lordy, could things get frustrating! Could she get frustrating! And the Boy! And the Labels! And the friends but not friends, too. She’s not the only one who could screw up… but it’s that fact where admissions are made, that in-your-face strength on her part to owning up to missing someone/loving someone/ being jealous of someone/ and basically not being perfect that made this better, less frustrating. Yet time and again, there’s be a choice made: then it’s made clear again then again then again that though she’s no angel (by any stretch,) she’s still just a kid.
There’s truth in the naivety in her that’s pointed out, in her method of “if I wish it hard enough, often enough, then it’ll come true” Because that’s how things were early on… particularly with regard to her and Joe. But things do move on from there (even if there are some hiccups on the way;) it’s the Committee she’s living through that does it. They had me thinking the opposite of the “more” that they were plugging. It’s so patently optimistic? young-minded? naïve? their live with others and live for The Best (not what’s Right) thing that they were rallying on about. Yet with others choosing her next step (which on paper reads brave but actually reads the opposite), there’s a safety, a buffer between her and having to choose for herself. It’s very ‘safe’ when some nameless faceless someone(s) is out there doing it for her. Star’s” it’s real life” felt most right; in a way, it’s this aspect of that was most successful. That magic lamp feel The Committee had me feeling is brought home in the end: it’s indeed too good to be true.
But despite all the choosing for self or chosen by others, despite the owning up to faults but seeing that it’s not all her doing, despite the I between growing up that everyone is doing in this… that darned too hokey-Hollywood an ending sort of dropped kick my enthusiasm from a maybe four to a three starrer.
Thank you, Edelweiss!
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