I started off 2012 so well in the reading department. Within the first seven days of the year, I was onto my third book and positively glowing. Every book choice I made resulted in sheer attachment and desperate need to read through the pages as quickly as possible. I devoured three books like you’d devour supper after not having eaten all day.
Then, I hit a brick wall.
I stopped reading entirely.
I ran into one of those books that is making it next to impossible to finish my dinner, choking down each bite.
That’s a whole other story, for an entirely different blog post, but, let me say that this rut I’m in is awfully disappointing because the book I’m currently stuck on was one that I was incredibly excited to read for months and months and months.
Having said all that, let’s retrace our steps and go back to that wonderful week in January where I read Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler’s recent novel, The Future of Us.
I first discovered Asher via Thirteen Reasons Why a few years ago. How I came across that book, I still can’t remember. It was most likely online somewhere or within a publishing magazine that I first saw it publicized. When I went to actually buy the book, however, I discovered that this new book was out of print, for one reason or another.
A few months later, on a shopping trip to the US with a friend, we walked into the now defunct Borders, and I immediately beelined for the clearance racks. What did I find there? Thirteen Reasons Why, just waiting for me. Whatever happened with the publishing and distribution of these, I’ll never know, but I got my hot, little hands on a copy while it was still technically listed as temporarily “out of print.”
I raced through that book. As much as it slightly disappointed me in one or two tiny areas, it was a book you could easily fall into, always wanting to know more about each person’s connection to the untimely suicide of the “main” character.
Then, when I found out that Asher was releasing another book (finally!) I was instantly pumped. Like John Green, Asher felt like one of those YA male writers who would pump out a book that I had no ability to hate, despite any quirks or plot pitfalls.
So far, that’s ringing true.
The basic concept behind The Future Of Us intrigued me. As much as I hate when books date themselves too much – in this case, the book is entirely about Facebook – it’s a book perfectly suited for the present and sure, may never become a classic, but is definitely a great here and now kind of story.
The idea of what you do in the present affecting your future, however, is a classic concept, and so, I was interested to read Asher and Mackler’s rendition of that concept with modern day ideas.
Sure, some of it felt silly reading, but I’m not going to say that’s because the book is YA or plainly not good. I think I was having a personality conflict with Emma that was getting in the way of me feeling any sort of sympathy for her. I’m a firm believer in that internet cliche of, face your problems, don’t Facebook them, and so, I was having a hard time with Emma’s future self posting so many personal, intimate details as status updates.
At some points throughout the book, I caught myself rolling my eyes and feeling genuinely irked by Emma’s inability to keep her mouth shut and/or to deal with the problems in her lives rather than simply posting about them on a social networking site. Maybe it’s because I don’t associate with people who publicly air their dirty laundry or because I just don’t see the point to it myself, but I was having a hard time believing that someone would so blatantly post about their husband being MIA, not coming home one night, or any other similarly themed statement.
(I know that people do actually post stuff like this out there. I don’t understand it. I don’t think I ever will.)
That was, however, my biggest beef with the novel, for what it was.
I got sucked into it, and regardless of my beef with Emma, wanted to see what the changes in her present made to her future. I wanted, much like her, to see if her decisions today made tomorrow better or worse. After all, I think that’s probably something we all think about in one way or another at some point in time, whether it be obsessively or rarely.
Who wouldn’t wonder what laying in bed on a windy, cold Saturday afternoon could do to your future that going out into the wind couldn’t?
I mean, I could go outside and get whacked in the head by a falling tree. That’s certainly not the type of near future I want. Then again, staying indoors and laying around in bed could result in the cat laying on my face and suffocating me. That’s also not a near future experience I’d like to have.
Decisions. Decisions.Leave a comment