Friday, July 28, 2017
The Most Dangerous Thing, by Leanne Lieberman
In the meantime, her sister is trying to stage a production of The Vagina Monologues at school and Syd can't imagine anything more embarrassing. She understands her sister's fervor and even agrees that girls need to speak out for their rights. But do they really need to be talking about sex and their girl parts, and using those words? For Sydney, there is nothing more dangerous than the minefield of sexuality, especially her own.
At times pedantic about sex (and religion to a lesser extent), Lieberman's novel is at its strongest with Sydney herself and with illustrating her struggle with depression. This is sensitive stuff and handled well, allowing Syd to have wishes and desires, yet feel restrained by all sorts of fears. I loved the give and take between strength and vulnerability -- how she can be so terrified of Paul at one point, yet willing to come back and fight to overcome those fears. The story would have been even better if Lieberman had let Sydney tell her story without so many adult voices intervening -- she's smart, interesting, and capable of expressing herself. I wanted to hear more.