Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Finally.

Here is my next review. Please forgive me for the delay. As you know from my previous post, I’ve been sick. I am going to apologize in advance if this review is somewhat lacking in flavour – my tastebuds aren’t the same due to being sick in all… Haha. Now onto the book.

This Lullaby

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Remy has a system when it comes to dating guys, a foolproof plan that works like a charm every time: date them while it’s fun, then leave ’em before it gets too serious. Perhaps it stems from the fact that her mom is now onto husband number five, but Remy doesn’t believe in love. Then Dexter comes along. The complete antithesis to every guy she has ever dated. He is clumsy, messy, and a musician – everything she finds annoying in a guy and stay away from. But this time, Remy might not be able to stay away.

(Dessen, 2002)

My thoughts

… are slightly incoherent at the moment (I am slightly feverish), so I will try to lay them out in a somewhat organized manner.

Talk about a catharsis. After Dreamland left me feeling slightly empty and disturbed, I’m glad This Lullaby came along. Even Sarah Dessen felt that this book needed to be written after her last one. What better way to transition from a heavy book with difficult themes than to love story?

(Dessen, 2016)

Now, this book isn’t all butterflies and rainbows. The protagonist has her struggles too. Yet, it’s a lighter read and a lot less emotionally draining. A story about summer love, perfect for the mid-July heat and also slightly comforting to read as I am dying from the germs here in my bed.

I like that Remy is such a bad*ss (please excuse the language). All of Dessen’s previous characters were on the shy side, glad to take the backseat to the show. On the other hand, Remy is out there. She knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to show it. Sure it kind of gets her into trouble, but it’s nice to see a strong female lead.

On the downside, her girlfriends fall a little flat to me. They’re in there, they offer support and sage advice in times of need, but they weren’t exactly crucial to the story, in my opinion. It would have been nice to see them a little more in the forefront. I do like all the Girl Power vibes they send out though!

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via GIPHY

All of Truth Squad were fantastic. They basically made up the whole light feel of the book, incredibly hilarious easy-go-lucky kind of guys. Fabulously maladroit and ridiculous, I especially liked reading about them trying to find jobs… and falling out of cars.

Monkey, Dexter’s dog, also added some lightness and fun; you couldn’t help but love him too. Even he was able to question Remy, in a way, to make her think about love and all it brings:

As he came closer across the grass, I watched Monkey, amazed at his full-body excitement to see this person he’d only been away from for an hour or so. What did it feel like, I wondered, to love someone that much? So much that you couldn’t even control yourself when they came close, as if you might just break free of whatever was holding you and throw yourself at them with enough force to easily overwhelm you both. I had to wonder, but Monkey clearly knew: you could see it, feel it coming off him, like a heat. I almost envied him that. Almost.

(Dessen, 2002, p. 161)

Dessen was able to perfectly capture the essence of a dog’s love for his owner. I’ve grown up with dogs, and this is it. That unconditional love that never wavers. It’s silly, I know, but I love her for adding Monkey into this story.

Of course, Dexter was the highlight. Maybe it’s because he reminds me a lot of my fiancé, his easy manner, his optimism, his humour. I found I could completely relate with Remy when she unable to stay mad at him:

I hated it when he made me laugh when I didn’t want to: it seemed some huge loss of control, so unlike me, like the most glaring of character flaws.

(Dessen, 2002, p. 148)

Oh yes, I have definitely felt that way on more than one occasion! His faith in everything, in destiny, also delighted me. A very clumsy Prince Charming. If you aren’t wooed too then you are quite jaded my friend!

And, as usual, Sarah Dessen has been able to move me with her words:

Maybe a marriage, like a life, isn’t only about the Big Moments, whether they be bad or good. Maybe it’s all the small things – like being guided slowly forward, surely, day after day – that stretch out to strengthen even the most tenuous bond.

(Dessen, 2002, p.267)

I believe this to be true for any relationship. At least, it is for mine. So many hearts ❤ ❤ ❤.

The only thing I can say that really bugged me about the book (and all of her previous books, now that I think about it) is the smoking. Everyone smokes, or there’s at least one character that smokes. Now, I’m not hating on all you smokers out there, I mean, we all need our vices to be human, but why is there not one book where no one smokes? I’ve just started reading The Truth About Forever, and guess what, there’s a character that smokes! It could be the fact that I’m sick, and asthmatic, and my lungs are currently dying, that all this smoking (even if fictional) is bothering me, but I just cringe at the thought of teens smoking.  But anyway, that’s just me.

So, as usual, I recommend this book. It’s nice that it has a slightly older cast of characters (although not by much), so it can be relatable to those of you adulting out there. It’s not the most amazing of all her books, but still quite a delightful read.

Now, I’m signing out, so I can continue stewing in my cesspool of germs. I’m hoping to get better soon, so you hopefully won’t have to wait as long for my next review. Have a lovely day guys, and enjoy the sun for me!

 

Sincerely,
The Struggling Librarian

 

 

References
Dessen, S. (2002). This Lullaby. New York: Speak.
Dessen, S. (2005). Sarah Dessen. Retrieved from http://sarahdessen.com/
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