This is week 1 of the Gayle Forman Read-Along, and Judith at Paper Riot is hosting the first book, Sisters in Sanity. Here are the questions, and my answers for week 1, chapters 1-7.
1. What is your first impression of Brit? Do you like her as a character? And do you think she really has ODD, or is she just a teenager?
As someone who has gone through being a teenage girl with divorced parents, I can totally relate to Brit. My father didn’t remarry until I was older, but he had the same girlfriend for my entire teenage years, and sometimes I felt like he really forced her on me more than necessary. I definitely see that in Brit’s father, especially when he refers to “Stepmonster” as Brit’s mother. My first impression of her is that she’s just a scared, confused teenager. Her mom has schizophrenia, which I’m sure she realizes can be hereditary, her father is remarried to someone completely different who doesn’t seem to really like Brit, and she has a new baby brother, who seems to have replaced her. I don’t have any strong feelings for her as a character yet, but she also doesn’t annoy me, so that’s a positive. Honestly, in reading the description given of ODD, I think it would be very easy to say almost every teenager has it. Hell, I think my 5 and 7 year olds may have it, going by those symptoms! lol I don’t think she really has ODD. I think that she’s just a teenage girl, trying to find her way, which we all do, but she has the added baggage of a broken family and a mother with mental illness.
2. What is your first impression of the other girls? (V, Bebe, Martha, Cassie) Do you like them? Do you think they can be trusted? Who is your favorite?
I think I like V. She seems like she knows the ropes and is helpful and kind, or so I’d like to think. Honestly, she seems like she has the potential to either be the best of friends or the most evil backstabber, based solely on the fact that Brit seems like she can trust her. Bebe is interesting. We don’t know a lot of her backstory yet, but I have a feeling that she’s not as snobby or slutty as we’re led to believe thus far. I really like Cassie. I love her “homophobia warning” because it’s so true. A lot of people respond that way to gay or bisexual people, and it’s really kind of silly. I don’t really have a lot of feelings toward Martha yet, but I think she’s going to develop into a good character. Even so far, she seems to realize that all is not right at Red Rock.
So, with saying all that, so far, I like all of the girls. I really have no idea whether they can be trusted, though I’d like to think that most of them can. As far as my favorite, it’s hard to say so far, but maybe Bebe. She’s pretty funny.
3. We get a first glimpse of how things are handled at the Red Rock. How do you feel about this so far? Do you think the way things are handled is okay?
Ugh, the way things are run at Red Rock just gives me the willies. It’s just such a creepy and disturbing place. I don’t think that it’s ever okay to demean people the way that they do in CT, but even less so with teenagers, especially girls. I remember how fragile my self-image was in high school, and I think being in a situation like this would have done some permanent damage.
4. What do you think about the story of Brit’s parents? Do you think this has anything to do with the way Brit acts now?
I went into this a little bit in my answer to the first question, but I think that the story of Brit’s parents has a lot to do with the way Brit acts. I mean, first and foremost, her parents ran a coffee shop that a lot of musicians frequented, so it’s really not a surprise that she’s in a band. More importantly, though, I think that Brit’s mom’s paranoid schizophrenia also plays into Brit’s story, but maybe on a more subconscious level than she realizes at this stage. Brit saw what happened to her mom, and as a seemingly smart girl, I’m sure she realizes that it can be hereditary. I wonder if deep down, she has fears of being just like her mom.
I actually really like the story of Brit’s parents because I think it’s very realistic. In fact, I’ve seen a very similar situation in real life. I like that it wasn’t the typical cheating/falling in love with someone else/got married too young type of thing that led to Brit’s parents’ divorce and her father’s remarriage. There was something substantial and insurmountable.
5. What is your first impression of Sisters In Sanity after the first 7 chapters? Are you enjoying it? Is this your first Gayle Forman book?
I’m really enjoying Sisters in Sanity. Honestly, I didn’t even want to put it down when I finished chapter 7! I’m curious to see what comes about with Brit’s story, and more specifically, the friends she seems to be making. This isn’t my first Gayle Forman book, but I read If I Stay long enough ago that I don’t really remember much of it.