“Holding people away from you, and denying yourself love, that doesn’t make you strong. if anything, it makes you weaker. Because you’re doing it out of fear.”
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?
I’ve been meaning to read Sarah Dessen books ever since I started book blogging, but for some reasons I haven’t got the chance to pick up any of her works until recently. Having heard a lot of good things about Sarah Dessen works made me formed some high expectations from her. So basically, I dreaded starting any of her works afraid that my expectations won’t be met.
I’m not sure if the choice to start with This Lullaby instead of her other popular novels such as Just Listen and The Truth About Forever is a good idea but with no other Sarah Dessen books available from my shelf, I decided to give This Lullaby a try.
The story centers to Remy Starr, a senior high-school girl who doesn’t believe in love, at least not the romantic kind. With her mother romantic history, where men come and go and relationships never work, she can’t believe in love anymore. So she set some dating rules for her self to make sure she will never end up like her mom. She don’t date musicians, and she knows the perfect time and way to end a relationship. All her rules are in check until she met Dexter Jones. Dexter comes into Remy’s life in a literal crash, with a cheesy line and unending persistence. But Dexter is a musician and has a pretty chaotic life style – everything Remy’s avoiding in her own life. Suddenly all of Remy’s rules doesn’t apply anymore without her actually realizing it.
As I said earlier, I dive into this book with so much expectations, and that carry huge impact in terms of me loving the book. I expected Sarah Dessen to give me a remarkable or at least memorable characters. But sad to admit I didn’t find one in This Lullaby. As hard as I tried to like Remy and Dexter, they still fall short for me. I’m not saying that there is nothing to like in them, as there are some good qualities in them too, I just find them too predictable and forgettable.
Remy is independent and tough but most of the times she is too hard, bitter and cold. I understand where she is coming from, I really do. Because I personally know that when life give nothing but hardships on you, you will really learn to be tough. I even can relate to Remy being the rationalize thinker that she is. I am actually like that, my friends told me how I put logic in everything I do if I can, that if I can put a formula in every problem before I decide into something I make sure to make that formula in use. But even I can relate to Remy, I still find her bad side too much for me to really like her. She is too pessimistic which I really don’t like. Her cynical and self-destructive behavior sometimes is irritating.
As for Dexter I like his good disposition in life. Even his life isn’t really smooth he manage find something good in everything around him. I like that but it isn’t enough. Because Dexter is also messy, disorganized and irresponsible. Beside pursuing Remy, I don’t see any other things he take cares of. Even his music doesn’t feel like a big deal to him, which is supposedly should be. He quit college to be a musician but he can’t voice his opinion about their music to his band mates. He claim that he loves his dog Monkey but he can’t even manage to groom him. He can’t even remember paying the bills on time. He did things without even thinking about it. He is impractical and negligent.
Another expectations I got for this book came from its title which I can only relate to music. I expect some huge music to send impact to the story, or the story is centered to music. Somehow I assume it will be like Gayle Forman‘s Where She Went where dozens of songs and lyrics actually become part of the book and the story. Saying that I love Where She Went is an understatement, so going to this book with that kind of expectations and comparison obviously sent an impact on me liking This Lullaby. Though there are few lines of song lyrics in here, they are not as powerful as those I’ve read in Where She Went.I know it is not fair comparing these two books, but there’s no way I can explain why the book didn’t work for me as much as I expected without mentioning Where She Went.
“I knew that there were no guarantees. No way of knowing what came next for me, or him, or anybody. Some things don’t last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there.”
Expectations aside This Lullaby is fairly enjoyable read. It shows how people who basically grew up in the same environment manage to developed different perception about their situation. Not only between Remy and her brother who basically lives the same life but also between Remy and Dexter. They had a symmetrical life experiences, both of their mothers went to different failed marriages, different step fathers come and go inside their house, but Remy and Dexter view and handle life differently. It is about hope and taking the risk for something you cared about.