Just Listen

just listen sarah dessenSometimes when I'm having a crappy day I need something to escape. That's usually books. Although this week with all the headaches I've had that's mostly mean escaping to my bed with my laptop and a movie. Was it SARK that talked about your bed being your refuge? 'Cause this week I'm seriously loving my bed. So when today turning out to be totally craptastic and I was frustrated and belting out the blues along with Matt Andersen wasn't working (not to mention probably really annoyed the crap out of my neighbours as I was loud and I cannot carry a tune to save my life) I logged off work and retreated to my bed.

I didn't think I'd have time to read Sarah Dessen's Just Listen. It's due back at the library tomorrow and I just simply didn't think I'd make it. I had every intention of working late tonight and over the weekend - before things got craptastic. But when I retreated to my room I took this with me. And I loved it. This was the first of Sarah Dessen's books that I've read and I loved it and want to read them all.

Ok first - the title? I love the spot where I comes from.

"You might totally hate it," he admitted. "or not. it might be the answer to all life's questions. That's the beauty of it. You know?"

I looked down at it again, studying the cover. "'Just Listen'," I said.

"Yeah. And don't think or judge. Just listen."

"And then what?"

"And then," he said, "you can just make up your mind. Fair enough, right?"

This did seem fair to me, in fact. Whether it was a song, a person, or a story, there was a lot you couldn't know just from a excerpt, a glance, or part of a chorus. "Yeah," I said, sliding it back to the bottom of the stack. "Okay."

When you read this you will see this is a moment. A moment that makes much more sense when you read it. But it resonated with me. And I really, really liked Owen. If I were a teen-aged girl I totally would have that the hugest crush on Owen. Tall, sensitive, broody, vaguely unapproachable, and known for having a wicked punch? Yeah...totally would have fallen for him.

Secondly, I dearly needed to laugh today. And I really, really was not expecting to laugh at this book. It had triggery issues which I was sure were not going to bother me but I was certain that I wasn't going to laugh. Enter the secondary cast. Rolly amused me. A lot. I totally had a picture of this totally quirky guy I've seen in a movie or two (won't link because I hate it when other people put faces on my characters). Anyway, Rolly's job is as an attack dummy for self-defence classes. And while it's really not that funny (and I knew that at the time) it is a reflection of today that this totally made me crack up and made my cat stare at me as if she thought I had lost my mind and this prospect frightened her.

"Oh, no," Rolly told him, shaking his head. He had a really sweet face, I was noticing. Where Owen was big and broad, more the attacker style, Rolly was smaller and wiry, with bright blue eyes. "Attacking is much better than clerical work."


"It is?" I asked.


"Sure. I mean, for one, it's exciting," he said. "And another, you really get to meet people on a such a personal level. There's a real bonding in someone beating the crap out of you."

Reading it I'm starting to get the giggles again. I tell you, I've cracked. It's been a long week.

And Annabel, the star of the book. There's a lot of her in me. Although I'm probably a lot less silent and a lot more self destructive. I think if you mush her and her two sisters together you might get me.

Good book. Great book. Might have to buy it when it comes out in paperback. Because I'm sure there are some other days where I need something to remind me that work is just that. Work. When I just off the computer it's over (or at least it should be). What does this book have to do with that? Not a lot. But it made me step away. And now the anger and frustration I was feeling earlier has mostly evaporated and I feel good. I have distance now. I have perspective.