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Willow Hardcover – April 2, 2009
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Willow's acknowledgment of the cause of her grief--that she'll never be anyone's daughter again--is a sharp insight, and Hoban's appropriately complex portrayal of cutting makes this a good choice on a crucial subject. --Kirkus Reviews
In this novel that is in part a love story, Hoban takes readers on an intense journey that allows them to see a cutter's painful reality. --School Library Journal
About the Author
Julia Hoban is a woman of many talents: She writes, designs her own clothes and handbags, and attended graduate school for physics and philosophy. She lives with her husband in New York City, and is working on her next novel (and outfi t).
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Top customer reviews
It started to get better as Willow started to find more focus and bring the life back into her world. Guy forces her to confront the truth, and makes her feel like she is worth more than the space she takes up. He makes her feel like she is more than just the accident that made her lose her parents.
It was tough to start, but if you can get past that, you'll enjoy the book as a whole.
In life we deal with 2 types of pain, emotional and physical. Most of the time the two are mutually exclusive, however at times they are triggered by the other. "Willow" by Julia Hoban is just one example of what happens when the inability to control your emotions leads to the compulsion to feel physical relief.
Willow talks to no one, she wears long sleeves regardless of the weather, and she is addicted to pain. Why? because she is a cutter. Unable to deal with the emotional responsibility of her parents sudden death (that she inadvertently caused) Willow does the only thing she can think...she abolishes her heartache with physical pain, but when a boy named Guy suddenly takes notice of her...and her arms, something snaps. Will Guy's intense nature eventually help, or hinder Willow's little problem? Will Willow ever understand the significance of crying, and if she finally does...will it be enough to stop her destructive behavior?
I know it can sometimes be confusing when I label devastating literature as beautiful... but that's what it is. When a book has the ability to make you forget where you are, feel the pain, and love of its characters, and push the boundaries of what is acceptable conversation... it is no longer a book. It is art. Hoban created a story that was so overwhelming, that at times I felt as if I would explode from the on-slot of sensory overload. The skeletal plot of "Willow" was about love, grief, and understanding... but the lessons in between are what is important: acceptance, compassion, compulsion, redemption, and the ability to let go. There are several places through-out this novel in which you will hang your head in disbelief, unable to mentally comprehend what is actually happening, and even more moments in which you will find yourself shaking or crying. Let it happen... it's what keeps you from becoming broken...it's what keeps you from becoming Willow.
Now, I could write for days, pages of beautiful words to express what I felt for this book... the writing was breathtaking, the plot was wonderful, I fell in love with a damaged girl...but none of it would ever be enough. So it leaves me only one solution, you will just have to read if for yourself.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: YOU create your own paradise, and your own prison.
She finds that the only way to relieve herself when her emotions just become too much is to "cut" herself with a razor. But she is eventually found out by a classmate named Guy. Although Guy promises not to tell on her - he also can't just walk away from her. Instead he tries to get closer to her to find out what leads a person to hurt themself in such a way and to try to help her out of the dark place she's in.
This is the first time that I read about "cutting" in such detail and although a bit on the descriptive side, it was not overdone or gory. On the other hand, Willow's pain is so real that you can actually understand why she would feel the urge to cut herself... even if you don't actually agree with it, you almost feel as if it is acceptable. It's as if her pain will consume her if she does not find an outlet to let it out. From the moment you start reading this book you become so emotionally attached to these characters (i.e. Willow; her brother, David; Guy) that you fly through the pages just to see what happens. If they can forgive each other? If they can forgive themselves?
The book is written in the third person, and I really commend Ms. Hoban for having written it this way. It somewhat gives you a detached feeling but at the same time you feel as if you are looking at Willow and Guy from above. Catching a glimpse into a painful part of a young woman's life.
This novel is not just about cutting - it is about love, hope and forgiveness. Although it touches on such a heavy subject, it is not overwhelming, instead it is told in a very unique and graceful voice.
Willow is a beautiful story, compellingly told and is by far one of the best YA novels I've read in quite some time. It is a very powerful piece that I highly recommend to older teens as well as adults.
My only negative comment is that it does send the message that a kind and loving man can solve your problems, which tends to romanticize a complicated issue.