Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review of Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler

Where It BeganTitle: Where It Began
Author: Ann Redisch Stampler
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 384
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★

Summary from Goodreads: Gabby lived under the radar until her makeover. Way under. But when she started her senior year as a blonder, better-dressed version of herself, she struck gold: Billy Nash believed she was a the flawless girl she was pretending to be. The next eight months with Billy were bliss...Until the night Gabby woke up on the ground next to the remains of his BMW without a single memory of how she got there.

And Billy's nowhere to be found.

How much would you sacrifice to be popular?  That is a question I'm sure many high-schoolers face everyday.  It was an issue when I was in high school and I can only see it getting more serious in years to come.  Gabby seemed happy in her old "sub-regular" life, but then her mom gives her an intensive make over and now she's caught the eye of the High School Hottie.  Only months later she wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of getting trashed and crashing Billy's Beamer. 

I had a really hard time with this novel.   Gabby clung onto Billy so much and made him her universe.  I felt this devotion was very one sided and a little pathetic.  She kept calling herself a cow every time she felt clingy and would actually have to talk herself down from saying certain things because she thought if she told him her true feelings he'd ditch her.  I don't think this is a healthy relationship.  Billy's life also seemed a little too good to be true.  Sure he was on probation for a DUI, but he never seemed to meet with a probation officer or do any community service.  In fact, he and Gabby skipped school all the time and never got into trouble.  How flippin unfair is that.  I'm sure that if I skipped school in high school, I would have not only gotten detention, but also a truancy ticket and been grounded.  Oh the life of the obscenely rich and powerful.   

Without giving too much away there is something weird about the crash itself.  Gabby is found passed out outside the car with the keys still in her hand and no one else around.  You don't figure out exactly what happened the night of the crash until the end because Gabby literally doesn't remember anything.  Throughout Gabby's recovery and the aftermath Billy and his mom guide Gabby with the lawyers, social workers, therapist, etc.  This was very suspicious to me.  I understand they have money and are super connected but I just thought it was a bit shady. 

Another thing that bothered me was Gabby's parents.  They were not the best role models and I wish they would have just been happy with Gabby instead of trying to change her or just flat out ignore her.  I feel they should have thought more about their daughter's best interest instead of trying to impress others around them. 

This novel was very well written and I think it held an important message.  I liked that is wasn't the typical story of geeky girls gets a makeover and snags the football star.  There was more depth to it.  The novel deals with more complex issues of self-esteem, deceitfulness, and getting taken advantage of.  It was tough for me to read, as I mentioned before, but worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I think this could be interesting because it does focus on different kind of parents, the kind that are more concern with giving off the right kind of image. Yes, I probably would of wished that Gabby's parents were more accepting of her, but what kid doesn't wish that. All parents set certain standards and expectations, but some take those ideal to the extreme.


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