December: After the Fall

Sloppy Firsts, your final chapter devastates me every time.  Because we don’t know Hope, it’s easy to forget the constant guilt that Jessica feels for not sharing this relationship with her.  Choosing between Hope and Marcus is easy for us because Hope is the other end of letters that we never really know and Marcus is !!!!!!!!!!!!  It’s never until this final letter, when Jessica needs to tell Hope not just for their friendship but because Hope is the only one who can help her heal, that I realize how much more important their relationship is, both to Jessica and to the novel.  And, seriously, is there a better use of Fuck You in a YA novel?  I don’t think so.  Her calling him Krispy destroys me; her anger betrays just how hurt she is.

I have no interesting theme or sharp insights this month.  I have only a lot of fangirling.   The marred kiss, the Christmas postcard, Jess turning to Bridget, Jess bonding with her mom, and, of course, “Fall.”  These are the things that make me squeal and clap and reread.  But one of the things that is truly great about this last chapter, which I think gets ignored because it isn’t as completely crucial to the overarching Jessica Darling narrative, is the discussion of women’s health.  Aside from the Judy Blume’s (who do so famously), how many other novels deal with having or not having your period like this one does?   I love that Jessica gets her period immediately after telling Marcus off for using her emotions for his own amusement.  Her body and her mind are trying to set things straight.  Additionally, I almost always forget that the discussion of her being “highly orgasmic” comes so late in the novel.  Jessica’s previous sex dreams and daydreams are a refreshingly frank depiction of the sex life of a high schooler not currently having sex, but, here, her discussion of orgasming and masturbation does an even great service.   While not appearing too didactic, it’s straight-forward. factual, and informative.

Things I would text Emily about if we weren’t writing this blog:

I was trying to think if I have my own, perfect for a last-minute date, anti-Homecoming dress.  Help me.  Do you?

Bethany! She’s still the worst.

I love the true revelation of Bridget’s “Who says Burke and I are having sex” comment.  I look forward to it every time I start reading their conversation.

If you liked that, try this:

Does Marcus’s “Fall” make you want to read more poetry?  Try the collected works of Frank O’Hara, who is one of my favorites.  Jessica and Marcus would appreciate his expert use of pop culture, I’m sure.

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