Monday, December 30, 2013

Lock & Key

Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Year Published: 2008
Pages: 422

"What is a family?"

Who knows that answering this simple question could be so difficult for some people?

Seventeen year old Ruby had never experienced the meaning of a family like any other normal people experienced. After her parents' divorce, her father had left the family and had never bothered to check his daughters. Not long after that, her 10-years-older sister, Cora, also left the family after she started college and never came back. Ruby was left with her emotionally unstable mother, who often brought her to move to many places and often abused her. But one day, her mother also decided to go and never got back until Ruby got busted living alone without an adult, since she were still a minor, and later was forced to reunite with Cora, who apparently had a perfect life now, until she reached 18.

Living with Cora, a sister who once Ruby relied on but then abandoned her without any words, surely needs adaptation. At first, Ruby attempted to runaway but then she met the neighbor, Nate, who later became her friend at school. From the surface, Nate seems like having a perfect live although his parents already divorced. He was friendly and active. But the longer Ruby knew Nate, the more she realized that she and Nate had more similarities, especially in their relationship with their parents.

I am very touched with the story of Lock & Key. Lock & Key tells a story about imperfect family and how what parents do can affect the children. It has less romance portion than Dessen's other works that I've read before but it's totally okay. It feels darker and emotionally deeper as the issue is more serious: child abandonment.

Our main character, Ruby, is surely a girl who has been hurt since her young age. She grew up feeling left behind by her family. First, her father left her, her sister, and her mother. Soon, her sister followed as she started the college year. And last, her mother also left her alone without any news. When Ruby finally reunited with her sister, all she could feel was mistrust. Why would her sister, who left her before, want to accept her once again? Ruby pretended to be strong and independent but deep down inside she felt broken.

I am very sorry to read about Ruby's condition and hate her mother for doing all she did that cause Ruby to feel them all. And I realize that in real life out there, there are also so many kids who are like Ruby, being neglected by their parents and are forced to live their tough life.

Recently I've watched America's Next Top Model season 20. There was one contestant named Chris H who told the viewers that his mother'd never cared for him and soon as he reached 18, he found out that his mother had left him alone because once kids reached 18 in USA, it means that they are not dependent to their parents anymore. I mean.. How could she? 18 is not an adult yet.. The kid still needs to go to college and others. How can parents be so irresponsible?

Thankfully, this book doesn't stop only tell us about Ruby's miserable past. What happens next is that Ruby then is given a chance to have a better future. A chance to reconcile with her past, and a chance to reach many dreams that she hadn't dare to dream before, including to feel what it is like to have a family where she belongs. Ruby's journey to find the true meaning of "family" for me is so empowering.

How Sarah Dessen explored Ruby's journey and interaction with people near her is amazing as usual so that the readers would be able to find Ruby's development throughout the story. The supporting characters, like Ruby, are also imperfect and have their own characteristics. Dessen has once again successfully created a story which feels so close to the readers' daily lives.

I think Lock & Key is a book that has to be read by all people. Not only teenagers and parents but all people in general. The story is so realistic and makes us realize that we are not the only one with problems. The message is clear and very eye-opening. Sarah Dessen really did her job well.

A totally must read.


  1. Sarah Dessen, favoritku banget tapi baru baca 1 bukunya sih, yg just listen ^^

  2. Entah aku pernah baca judul yang sama atau teringatkan sesuatu yang berkaitan sama kata di judulnya, yang pasti sih belum baca bukunya *ngakak sendiri*. Kayaknya bakal memorable banget bisa baca buku dengan bahasa Inggris semua :D

  3. bukunya bagus banget,kalau bisa untukku aku aja kak,hehheh,kayanya enak ni dijadiin koleksi baru buku dirumah


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