Just Listen – Chapter 1

Commercials, I never understand why people would want to be in one. Whether starting out in the acting biz (obviously motivated by cash) or a celebrity (definitely motivated by cash), I don’t see the attraction in selling ones self-respect to push product. This was further supported in the recent video I saw of Nicolas Cage assuming a yee-haw accent, a cowboy hat and dancing alongside metallic-bodysuit-wearing robot dancers. I mean, commercials don’t scream self respect so why on earth is Annabel doing them?

The Annabel we meet is far removed from the girl in the commercial. We know something has happened, that her bestie is no longer classified as such and that the thing that happened must have been bad. Even the way she refers to herself “…I was a mess, but this girl – she was fine” shows that she’s disconnected from life in a way. Disconnected from her own self. We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve broken away from a friend (whether temporary or long term). You psych yourself up for that first meeting but it never goes as planned. Being called a “bitch” isn’t a great ice breaker.

You wonder what Annabel did that is so bad. She has not said anything bad about Sophie so it must be resting on Annabel’s shoulders, right? That animosity must be supported, right?

I love Clarke – her sneezing and cautiousness reminds me of myself. That makes me the ultimate narcissist! But allergies such and that I can relate majorly on. Sophie sounds like an absolute cow and Annabel is a better person than I for taking pity on her. Her gumption is pretty incredible though, would you have had the guts to plonk yourself next to older girls who didn’t know you in an attempt to infiltrate their inner sanctum? I thought not.

Kirsten is loud, flamboyant and way over the top. I share certain characteristics but there is no way I can be as annoying as the eldest Greene daughter.

“She did not shy away from confrontation – if anything, she sped towards it, before overtaking it completely.”

What a great description of such a fiery character, the absolute antithesis of Annabel. Whitney, the middle daughter is described as a fumer – “stony, heavy silence” was her weapon of choice. These characters already resonate with me as I can already see myself in both Kristen and Whitney, what frightens me, is that I can’t relate to Annabel yet. To connect with a book you need to find some tiny piece of common ground with your protagonist and I am reaching into nothingness so far.

I have realised that my lack of a hold on Annabel is deliberate. Annabel sees herself as the middle ground between two vastly different sisters. She’s the middle of the spectrum, doesn’t really know herself, just knows that she’s somewhere in the  middle ground between her sisters. This intrigues me.

“Why can’t you just be nice?”

Is this just my mother, or is this a universal term of phrase in Mothering 101?

Kristen and Sophie’s face off was hilarious to me. Kristen is so over the top that she was searching for a reason to “go off” on Sophie. Annabel (and Clarke) showed immense kindness in returning the bag. But somewhere in the back of mind I am reminded that Kristen’s harsh words to Sophie are years later flung at Annabel.


A Note
*I will post chapter responses on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays as that option received a great response on the survey.
*I would love for readers to contribute their thoughts on Just Listen, so if you’d like to contribute a paragraph on a character, an event or a chapter email it in to me at sddiarist@gmail.com.  I am thinking of making it a weekly segement – Thursday Thoughts or something like that. 
*There will be weekly polls posted on Tuesdays so keep you eyes peeled!
*Comments are always appreciated 🙂 Even if they are only Nic Cage related lol.

11 thoughts on “Just Listen – Chapter 1

  1. Janssen says:

    I finished this book on Friday and really enjoyed it, although its probably only my fourth favorite of the five Sarah Dessen books I’ve read. Can’t wait for more posts!

  2. Lyse says:

    Actually, it’s Kristen who is the eldest not Whitney.

    • madison o; says:

      um, no…
      whitney is the oldest.
      whitney only lives with her parents and all because she had that whole situation with an eating disorder.
      in the book, it says,
      whitney was 22 ;
      kirsten was 20 and annabel was 16. something like that.

  3. Adele says:

    Janssen – glad you are enjoying SD loveliness!

    Lyse – Thanks! Blame writing at 12 at night and a shocking memory!




  5. Anna says:

    Hey!! This is my third favourite book, I can’t wait to read more.

    By the way, the comment above is not in spanish, it’s in portuguese. She is asking if you two are related because her last name is Dessen two. (I’m not really sure, but I seems to me that she thinks your name is Sarah Dessen).

  6. shirley says:

    omg, i loved this book! & sarah dessen, as well
    so far i have read just listen, dreamland, the truth about forever, this lullaby, & lock and key.
    but im so happy a blog like this exists since i haven’t read it in a while.

  7. Emma says:

    It’s been just about a year since I’ve last commented. With school and my own writing it’s been hard to visit, but i’m glad to be back, able to catch up on your amazing dessen-esque blog, and just in the nick of time for Just Listen!
    It was my first and favorite of Sarah Dessen’s work, probably because i relate so strongly to Annabel. I hope you’ll like it too. it really is a good one 😛

  8. Angela says:

    Actually, it’s Kirsten..

  9. Angela says:

    That was to Lyse.

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