Sunday, May 22, 2005

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, by Deb Caletti

Sometimes, there is too much of a good thing....

This is the story of a young woman sucked into the sphere of a Bad Boy, in a relationship that goes from risky to dangerous to harmful. Bordering on an abusive relationship, Ruby's infatuation with Travis takes her into a minefield of dependency that even her mother has not managed to overcome.

This is a richly poetic book, chock full of metaphors and allusions, and colorful observations about life and love. It addresses at least one of my recent concerns -- the portrayal of parents in YA lit. In this one, the mother (while a real human being who must sometimes make decisions in Ruby's best interest) genuinely cares about her daughter and works with Ruby to overcome her issues. Ruby does rebel and Mom is not always perfect, but this is a story of a mother and daughter working together...and that is a beautiful thing.

So, why do I have a luke warm feeling about the book? I think the primary issue for me is that the writing is SO dense that it is a very slow read. At one point, I began to observe just how dense -- nearly every page had at least two pithy observations or clever sound bites. I began to feel that Caletti was just dumping a journal-full of these quotes into the book, finding a place to slam as many as she could. It gets overwhelming. And in the end, it makes for a pretty turgid read. I love Sarah Dessen's writings for her ability to bring out these lyric moments, but restraint is a blessed thing. There can be too much of a good thing.

1 comment:

KIVA said...

Ditto....Ruby was sucked in so fast that the transition from shy girl had my head spinning. However, you know what they say about the shy ones.

I feel validated. These Disney moments of lyrical thoughts, jumped out of the bushes on too many pages. These little bites took me off the path of the story wading into deep thick mud. I could not get though some of it.

My librarian had an interesting comment when I asked her if she read this book--"yes, she read it, thoughts: she thought it was autobiographical. K.