Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Love is the Higer Law - by David Levithan

The Lowdown: 
I've never been to New York city, and I will certainly never know what it must have been like to be in NY on September 11, 2001.  But David Levithan's book Love is the Higher Law shows what the experience was like for three teens there when it happened.  This book shows glimpses into the lives of three teens on and after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on 9-11.  Claire was at school and went to get her little brother immediately after it happened.  Peter had actually skipped school that day to get the new Bob Dylan CD at Tower Records.  And Jasper actually slept through it all and didn't wake up until noon that day.  All three had very different experiences and reactions to the events.  Afterwards they have lots to deal with and think about.  As  time passes, the stories of these three intersect.  What mattered before doesn't matter now, and they rely on each other to make sense of the world as they knew it and the world as it is for them now. 

What I Liked: 
Mainly I just like that Levithan is tackling this subject.  In his afterword to the book he says that not as many books have been written about 9/11 as he would have thought.  As each year passes, the memory of the attack becomes more distant.  Today's freshmen in high school were around 6 when 9/11 happened.  This is a great book to show what it was like for teenagers experiencing the tragedy in their own backyards.  It's important to understand grief and feelings and how we are all affected by things like this.  The book shows how each kid deals with it differently and that no one way to view the tragedy or deal with it is right or wrong...they just are.  I liked that Levithan focused on the kids and their stories as opposed to the details of the day.  This book is really real and really important as we still continue to make sense of our country and its history.  The characters in the book come together to help one another.  Hopefully as they wonder, we can always do that in our world:
Wouldn't it be wonderful if we really came together, if we really found common humanity?  The hitch is that you can't find a common humanity just because you have a common enemy.  You have to find a common humanity because you believe that it's true.
I love this idea.  And even though it's been a while since 9/11, we are still living in a world that is forever changed because of it...war, fear, government power...Levithan's book helped me look forward and try to keep this positive idea in mind:  that people can be good and helpful and that maybe out of pain we can create a better world.

Read This If...
You'd like to experience life in NY.
You want to read about relationships.
You can handle taking another look at the attacks on 9/11.
You want to believe that "love is the higher law."
You want to read about friendships.

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