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Readings and Ramblings

This is Readings and Ramblings. It is readings because this is a site for blogging about books and I intend to do that. It is ramblings because I might want to write about something else now and then.

Just Listen - Sarah Dessen This is a novel with a moral. The author is skillful enough that she does not beat the reader over the head with it, but subtly shows it by making it an integral part of the plot. The moral is that honesty is the best policy and by honesty I do not mean the kind of honesty that prevents one from cheating people in business dealings. It is emotional honesty that is under examination. It seems that the value of honesty is shown by the actions of a character who is described as possibly the most honest person alive. If you ask him his opinion of yourself you had better be prepared for it because he is going to tell you. He also expects honesty from everyone else and if one expresses an opinion of him that may not be entirely flattering he just accepts it. He is not the protagonist though. The protagonist has a problem with being honest. She is a model who wants to quit modeling, but she keeps on doing it because she cannot come out and tell her mother and others who want her to continue. She loses friends because she cannot honestly confront them when they become angry with her and she continues a friendship with someone she would be better off without because she cannot just tell that person that she wants to be through with her. She does keep learning from that most honest person alive though. She has not quite learned the proper lessons, though, when she is sexually assaulted and she finds that she cannot report nor accuse her asailent. She is ashamed of the incident and is afraid of what people will think of her. She almost lets the perpetrator get away with it even though he has a record of doing the same thing to others. Finally, she tells and testifies and finds out that no one holds the assault against her. That was a foregone conclusion to me. I can't say that I know anyone who would hold a sexual assault against the victim, but somehow it is a revelation to her. I am not so sure, though, that I can agree that complete honesty in the way it is advocated in this novel is the absolutely best policy. It is as if the author is advocating rudeness and complete bluntness and that kind of behavior can make enemies. I would suggest being a bit more diplomatic and when the faults that you see in others are minor I would suggest that it might be better to just keep quiet about them. In this novel undiplomatic bluntness always leads to happy endings, but in real life I think it tends to just get the honest person labeled as a complete jerk. Nevertheless, I try to avoid lying myself and I find that it serves to make life a lot less complicated. If you don't lie you don't have to cover up for your lies. If you don't lie you don't have to suffer the embarrassment of being caught in a lie. Furthermore, if you avoid lying and get a reputation for not lying then when something really important comes along that you really do have to lie about it is a lot easier to get away with it. You do not have to lie, though, to avoid offending people. Sometimes just keeping quiet will be a lot more useful and you don't really have to tell the truth all the time if you know that the truth is going to be taken as an insult. All you have to do is to not say anything. That does not seem to be what the author of this novel seems to be advocating though.