Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Lock and Key
Dessen, Sarah. 2008. Lock and Key.
"And finally," Jamie said as he pushed the door open, "we come to the main event. Your room."
That first sentence springs you right into the action, the drama that is unfolding as Ruby comes into her new home. Ruby's first thoughts, I was braced for pink. Ruffles or quilting or maybe even applique. Which was probably kind of unfair, but then again, I didn't know my sister anymore, much less her decorating style. With total strangers it had always been my policy to expect the worst. Usually they--and those that you knew best, for that matter--did not disappoint.
Ruby hasn't seen her sister in ten years. Since the day her sister went away to college. Yet now, in Ruby's seventeenth year, the two are reunited. On Ruby's part it isn't voluntary. Ruby's mother has left her. Perhaps gone off drinking. Perhaps gone off with one of her boyfriends. Perhaps gone off drinking with one of her boyfriends. Ruby doesn't know. She doesn't want to know. She just knows that her mother disappeared without a word, without a note. And as far as Ruby was concerned, that's okay. She could manage on her own well enough.
But when the authorities find out that she is all on her own, they feel the need to place her in a home. Luckily her sister, Cora, and her wealthy husband, Jamie, are more than willing to take her into their own home and provide for her in a way that no adult ever has.
Ruby doesn't trust this new family. She doesn't trust anyone. She doesn't even know how to trust. It's a foreign concept to her. But over time and with much patience, Ruby may just start to realize what a family is and what a family does. It's a good thing too. Since that is one of her school assignments. Define the word "family." What she learns is well worth reading about.
I love Sarah Dessen. I do. She has an incredible gift with characters. They're always real. Always developed. Always human. Always flawed. And the style, the language, are equally wonderful. (She has such a gift with words. Her books are just quotable.) While Lock and Key lacks some of the emphasis on romance that her other novels have, there is plenty there to satisfy readers. I wouldn't say it's my favorite Dessen novel--it would be hard to knock The Truth About Forever from that place--I will say it was definitely enjoyable and definitely worth while.
It's never something huge that changes everything, but instead the tiniest of details, irrevocably tweaking the balance of the universe while you're busy focusing on the big picture. (38)
Everyone has their weak spot. The one thing that, despite your best efforts, will always bring you to your knees, regardless of how strong you are otherwise. For some people, it's love. Others, money or alcohol. Mine was even worse: calculus. (261)
Through my tears, I could hear her, saying it was all going to be okay, and I knew she believed this. But I was sure of something, too: it's a lot easier to be lost than found. It's the reason we're always searching, and rarely discovered--so many locks, not enough keys. (373)
Other reviews: Little Willow, Amanda.