July: Summer Job Drama

I intended to write this post about summer jobs, and how Jessica sees a lot of the same faces, but in a different context. But I ended up getting fixated on the drama. Particularly the way Jessica chooses to reveal the juiciest piece. She spends all of July complaining— about the boardwalk, the awful tourists, her coworkers, serving custard, Bridget’s mass emails, Scotty’s new girlfriend—but she doesn’t reveal her suspicions about Manda and Burke until she writes her letter to Hope. Last week I talked about the inherent gaps in the diary format, and July shows us a way they can be filled. She notes that “it’s not [her] imagination anymore,” which suggests that it’s been on her mind prior to her August 2nd letter to Hope. Maybe she and Hope have even talked about it on the phone. So why write about it to Hope and not in her journal? She’s already mentioned the carpool and she relayed her conversation with Bridget about keeping an eye on Burke.

A list of potential reasons:

  • Jessica says she doesn’t want to jinx her visit to Hope by talking about that in the letter, but she still has to write about something.
  • It’s better then writing about the general drudgery of a full-time, minimum wage, food service job on the Jersey boardwalk.
  • She’s not invested enough in the drama to write about it on a day-to-day basis.
  • Or if she writes about her suspicions or reasons them out too much, that makes it real.
  • This kind of moral dilemma—telling Bridget or not—requires a second opinion, not introspection.

Stray Observations

  • The Geek! It would ALMOST be worth going to the Jersey boardwalk to see him.
  • I love Jessica’s indignation about being on Bridget’s mass email list. They’re so annoying!
  • If only Marcus would show up on the boardwalk!
  • I very much enjoy Jessica’s descriptions of her Hungarian co-workers and their eternal need to know if she is spoken for.

When recommending other books that deal with summer jobs, I must talk about the novels of Sarah Dessen, the chic lit queen of YA. Most of them are set in the summer, include a romance with a quirky boy, and the heroine always has some customer service type job. My favorite is The Truth About Forever, a book that makes both running and working for a catering company sound way more appealing than they actually would be. The Moon and More, which came out a couple weeks ago, features a heroine who, like Jessica, works at a tourist destination.

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One thought on “July: Summer Job Drama

  1. I’ve never read any of Sarah Dessen’s novels, but I will have to get one out from the library. I think my cousin really loves them. I love the idea of her needing Hope’s opinion on the moral dilemma. So much of her journal entries are insular — thinking about her reactions, her opinions, and her consequences. The fact that something that could affect so many people is something that she reaches out about shows a lot of empathy, I think.

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