Although everyone discusses the great college reinvention, the time when you can move away and erase the past and present the new you that you always knew you were, each school year is a small reinvention in itself. Its cyclical nature even dictates that it should be — every year you buy a new school wardrobe and fresh notebooks and have a new schedule and promise to write down all of your assignments and not procrastinate or forgot your gym clothes in your locker and be nice to everyone and get over your long-standing crush and… Even Jessica Darling participates in this annual reinvention, as we see in her letter to Hope. She’s going to try harder this year. She’s going to be more present and more accepting.
Many of Pineville’s other seniors are making their own versions of these promises. Sara will be skinny. Manda will be the one-half of the school’s most popular couple, even if the other half is an asshole jock. Bridget will be a serious actor. Marcus will give up his old tricks and try a (fairly) straight-forward approach to the high school scene — at least that’s what his shirts suggest. It’s Monday. Let’s stick to basic facts. And while we know they’ll never last, we put up with them because we understand them and because they lead to the MOST AWKWARD moment in the entire series: Jess mistakes Len Levy for a new kid. She does. It’s awful. On rereads, you see it coming and it makes it so much worse.
I could write more about the unraveling of these inventions. About how it’s easier to fool yourself than it is to fool others. About how we revert back to our natural instincts during times of trauma. But, guys, I can’t. Because she welcomes him to their high school. Everyone watches.
Things I would text Emily about if we weren’t writing this blog:
Let’s move to Silver Meadows together
And I’m only going to refer to Marcus as the Flu from now on. I always forget about that nickname, but it’s great.
If you liked that, try this:
Jessica’s frank discussions of America’s patriotic response to 9/11 and her own reactions to those responses struck me as funny and real. If you’d like to read more about America’s perceptions of freedom, war, “what we’re fighting for” and who is actually fighting, read Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. The tone is similar to Catch 22 and I enjoyed reading it just as much.