Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Songs Without Words

This story, by Ann Packer, was mostly focused around Liz and Sarabeth, two friends from high school. The book starts with the girls in high school, when Sarabeth lived with Liz and her family after her mother committed suicide. Flash forward to present-day, when Liz is a mother of two and Sarabeth lives alone. They get together often.

When Liz’s 16-year-old daughter Lauren falls into a depression, Liz and Sarabeth’s relationship hits a rough patch. The rest of the book follows the Liz’s family and Sarabeth separately and together as they deal with Lauren’s depression. The book speaks from the perspectives of Liz, Sarabeth, Lauren and Liz’s husband Brody.

I liked the book, but it wasn’t those ones that I couldn’t put down. I wasn’t extremely attached to the characters, so I wasn’t absorbed in how I wanted it to end, or how I didn’t want it to end. However, the issues the book raised did make me think. It focused a lot on depression, particularly teenage depression, but also adult depression. I’ve always felt this is a real illness and it’s so important to treat if possible. So, it was informational to read about these situations, even if it was in a fictional book.

The book also studied Liz and Sarabeth’s relationship deeply. This was interesting to read about because, as a woman, I’ve always been fascinated by the way we manage relationships. Many of us have a hard time telling our good friends if they make us mad, if they hurt our feelings. Then we steam and stir to ourselves, act indifferent, cut off communication, etc. Why do we act this way? It’s hurtful to everyone involved and it really doesn’t solve anything. I even just read an article online the other day about ending friendships – that sometimes giving your friend the cold shoulder is the only way to break off a friendship, even if she never learns the reason why.

The book and the article made me think back to previous friendships I’ve had that didn’t work out in the end. Sometimes my intuition just told me to let it go, sometimes distance did it, sometimes a boy. Oftentimes I ended these relationships by just stopping contact. It just seemed easier – but it never provided closure. Obviously. I still think about them to this day. But, both the book and the article also made me value and thankful for the true friendships I have now.

If for only that reason, it was a good book.

No comments: