(Halfway through Lucy)
(Debby would like it noted that she was rather sleepy when this post was composed, and thus may not have fully articulated everything she meant to. Poor Debby.)
Debby: Let me go ahead and get this out of my system: Lucy is a little punk. I understand that her circumstances are less than wonderful, but her attitude is cynical and her words and thoughts are often cruel. I understand that we’re going for “honesty” here, but this is a short book that relies heavily on Lucy’s disdain for it’s main attraction. Again, I totally get that she has reason to be unhappy. But since when is cynicism a theme?
Tim: Well, and the way the whole thing hides behind this shroud of cultural revelation. At one point I got to thinking, Lucy really sees herself as the magical negro. All these stupid white people are running around like headless chickens, and here she is with the wisdom to reveal their stupidity. And she’s probably right, at least in part. But yeah, she’s a punk right down to her choice of friends (which I thought was funny). If not for her growing love for Mariah – if we can believe that love is what it really is – she seems very much like a robot, or an idealized spirit, or something like that. Lucy’s real family, I think, will hold the key here. Everything we know about her relationship with them looks like it should be healthy and positive, but Lucy clearly doesn’t see it that way. There has to be more of an answer than teen angst.
Debby: One thing I do appreciate about Lucy, though, is how self-possessed she is. While she admits that there are so many new things to take in and experience, she quickly and concisely acknowledges that they are “new” and takes them in stride. No googly-eyed rapture for Lucy. She is systematic, alert, and aware of her surroundings. For a young girl, far away from home, this is a huge feat.
Tim: I think that’s why her character remains interesting. She has the capacity to be unfazed by anything, it seems, and that cloth cuts both ways. At times she seems cynical to an unhealthy degree, at others, a confident young woman we can root for.