Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thoughts on Love is the Higher Law

Today, as you probably knew, is the 9th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centre. Living far away from NYC, my experience on that day was definitely not the dramatic, emotional story so many people in the blogosphere have been sharing today. I was 10 years old, I woke up to the radio, and my mom and I listened to the emergency broadcast.

I went to school, and our teachers were told to explain to us exactly what had happened and what was currently going on to the people of NYC. But we were kids, and we were far away, and the day was pretty much a regular school day. Of course, in the weeks and months (and basically years) that followed that day, the media continued to dissect the event over and over and over. I'd say that mainstream media everywhere was changed forever on that day.

So today I thought I'd present my thoughts on David Levithan's novel, Love is the Higher Law, to commemorate the event.

David Levithan is one of my favourite authors on the planet, so when I found this book on the shelf at my local library a few months ago I freaked out. WHAT??!! A DAVID LEVITHAN BOOK I'VE NEVER HEARD OF?!?! GIVE IT HERE!!!

I read it in a day. And, holy crap, what an emotionally charged day that was.

Even if you didn't experience that day first-hand, even if you're from the other side of the world from NYC, even if up until now you never really thought 9/11 was that big a deal, like I did... you should read this book. Being non-American, I always thought of 9/11 in terms of the big, sappy, patriotic memorial commercials on American TV, where they blared that Sarah McLachlan song (even though she's Canadian, from my hometown, but I digress). I always thought of the whole tragedy as another thing the U.S. was all woe-is-me over for no reason.

But after reading Love is the Higher Law, I feel like I understand. Of course, I can't really understand the true horror of what it must have been like to actually be there, but I've come a lot closer. David Levithan's story evokes all the sadness the reader has ever felt, all the feelings of loss, fear, shock, and absolute terror, and ties it to the event of 9/11 to rouse your compassion. Even if you weren't there, you'll feel like you were, because you have experienced a taste of what it was like, through David's incredible writing.

In terms of characters, I loved Jasper and Peter. They broke my heart. Didn't so much care for Claire's part of the story, thought she was a bit too saintly... but this book defies its flaws.

5/5. Seriously, buy this and read it now.

The cover always gives me chills.

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