Author: Bill Condon
Release Date: Aug 1/2011
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Page Count: 228
Acquired: Library Borrow
Read From: Feb 18-19/2013
A funny, poignant, realistic story of Tiffany's first love and first job, and the inevitability of change in the first summer out of school
School is over, not just for the year, but forever. Tiff and Kayla are free, which is what they've always wanted, but now summer is nearly at an end and that means life decisions. Tiff is hoping her job at the local paper will lead to something more, but "The Shark" soon puts her straight on what it takes to become a hard-nosed reporter like him.
At home, Reggie—the only grandad she's ever known—has quit smoking and diagnosed himself as a cactus, and then Kayla hits her with some big news. And into all this stumbles Davey, who plays rugby but quotes Truman Capote, and is the first boy who has ever really wanted to know her. Tiff is smart with words and rarely does tears, but in one short week she discovers that words don't always get you there; they don't let you say all the stuff from deep in your heart.
But..but wait hold on..you're just going to end THERE? This book should have gone on for another 30 pages. My heart needed it to-it was thoroughly enjoying itself. A Straight Line to My Heart was wholesome, that's the word I'm going to use: wholesome. It fed my heart and my mind some warm, and nourishing things. I'm so glad I randomly came across this one.
Living in the tiny town of Gungee Creek, Tiffany has just finished high school, and is on the verge of taking the next step in her life: getting a job at the local newspaper. When not spending time with her quirky adopted family, she's sharing equally charming dialogue with her best friend Kayla. The book plays out as Tiffany navigates her way through some huge changes in her life, but as banal as that sounds, author Bill Condon made it so that A Straight Line to My Heart was one of THE most heartwarming novels I've had the pleasure of reading.
I've been racking up some pretty amazing female leads lately, and Tiffany quickly added herself to it. Witty, humorously self-conscious, and a certified bookworm, she was such a refreshing character to read. Add to that the group that made up her family and friends, and I think I have officially found my favourite fictional family. The most wondrous knowledge was knowing that Reggie, Bull and Zoe were not even her own blood, which somehow made my connection to them even stronger. In it's own way, it restored my faith in humanity, in the fact that kindness exists in the form of people thrown together after a tragedy, and choosing love as their defense against pain.
Reggie, Tiffany's grandfather figure, stole my entire heart. Take a conversation on his funeral demands:
"If anyone feels he urge to get up and say what a good fella I was, they can put a sock in it. If they haven't told me when I'm alive, then it's too late when I've carked it"
Like..c'mon..RIGHT!? Preciously hilarious.
This book wasn't long, or deep, or anything it didn't have to be. It touched on moments in life, for just the right amount of time each. Tiffany found her way through loss, boys, family-life, friends, and work, all the while keeping her attitude and mental state in a place that really kept my connected to her. There are scenes in this book that were so charming, and fantastically written, that my heart actually ACHED with happiness-yes, I realize how dramatic that is, but I wish I could explain even further how happy it made me.
*Happy sigh*...I'm going to end on this extremely warm note. If you enjoy YA contemporary, this is one of the best I've read, and it would be a shame for you to miss out on it.
"A glad, happy look breaks out on his face. I mean, really breaks out, as if it's been held captive by the forces of doom and gloom and now it's on his face and stretching out and smiling at me."
"I love Sylvia Plath, but I can only read her poetry in short bursts; stay too long in her world and the gloom seeps in by osmosis"
"The kiss is not for sharing. I've got it locked away. Saving it for days when everything goes wrong, for nights when I'm lonely, and for old age, when I can barely remember what a kiss is like. Call me greedy, I don't care. It's my one piece of magic."