Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Saint Anything


Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Year Published: 2015
Pages: 417

Sydney had always been the least priority in her family. Her big brother, Peyton, had always gotten their parents' attention. Peyton, who was more cheerful, active, and later caught in never ending troubles which made him had to go to jail. Sidney, the one who was always calm, smart, and obedient, never made a scene in their family, thus, her parents didn't feel the need to look after Sydney.

I was used to being invisible. People rarely saw me, and if they did, they never looked close. I wasn’t shiny and charming like my brother, stunning and graceful like my mother, or smart and dynamic like my friends. That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are. 

After all Peyton's problems--which left so many questions to her and her family, Sydney had to move school. Not only because she wanted to stay away from people who had already known Peyton's problem but also because of financial matter. There, at her new school, she met the Chathams: Layla, Mac, and their mother. With the Chathams, Sydney felt "visible". The Chathams were very warm and really saw her as herself, unlike her parents.

“As I shut the door and started to walk away, I heard him say, "Hey. Sydney."
"Yeah?"
"You had on a shirt with mushrooms on it, and your hair was pulled back. Silver earrings. Pepperoni slice. No lollipop."
I just looked at him, confused. Layla was walking toward us now.
"The first time you came into Seaside," he said. "You weren't invisible, not to me. Just so you know.” 

One thing that Sydney wanted was to meet the boy whom Peyton hit, to really know him and to say sorry. But her mother became very protective toward Peyton and thought that that was a very bad idea. And finally, after so long being invisible, Sydney finally became visible to her mother; not as the good girl Sydney but the problem child Sydney. And finally, Sydney realized what had made Peyton change: their parents.


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Sarah Dessen's works are always worth-waiting-for for me. Her ability to capture teenagers' voice is a top notch and the issues she brings has always been relatable to adults--especially parents--too. The conflicts are simple, but they are there, realistic and feels so familiar. Saint Anything is not an exception.

For me, every parent should read this book. Sydney's voice throughout the story speaks her frustration as a child who constantly feeling worthless because her parents had never care enough of her presence in the family. Her brother was the one who is more approachable than her, so that her parents loved him more than her. As a parent - even as ordinary people - it is indeed very easy to love one child more than another, even though we know that we should love our children equally. And when one of them face a problem, our initial reaction is to warn the other not to get through the same problem--although maybe the chance of this other child to get through that problem is nearly zero.

Reading and listening to Sydney's voice made me kinda frustrated too, because I constantly hated her mother too. OMG, how could you do that to your smart girl???? But also, I can learn a lot from this story. A child is born with his/her ability to think and to feel, and can not simply be set by their parents. And sometimes, their desire to fulfill their parents' expectation can be too hard for them. Fortunately, Sydney had the Chatham family who helped to open up herself and talk more about her thoughts to her parents.It's truly a great book. However, I wish that it also explore more of Peyton's thought. I really want to understand his mind and what made him change his attitude. I know that he also had this depression because of his parents' expectation, but I really wish that he got more part in this book.


In conclusion, another great story by Sarah Dessen. I really recommend you to read this. Can't wait for her next book.


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