Just Listen – Chapter 5

Owen is my favourite of the Dessen Boys. It was his smoothing of the tissues, at the beginning of this chapter, that sealed the deal. I mean, his smoothed out a travel pack of tissues to offer to Annabel. It’s like the most gallant thing a teenage boy could do. Thoughtful and definitely sawoon-worthy.

If I ever needed consoling, I would totally want Owen on the job. He’s there but he doesn’t push. His presence is enough. He’s a truth teller too; he doesn’t mince words – something that I appreciate greatly in a friend –

“Could have been worse…You could have punched her.”

I find this charming as it touches on his past actions combined with some self-deprecating humour. It also shows growth in his acknowledgement that it’s not the way to deal with conflict. He’s like the Obi-Wan of their high school, except cuter.

Although Whitney is in her own self-involved, dangerously ill world. Her no show provides Annabel with a lift home in Owen’s wheels. He doesn’t even ask her if she wants a lift, just tells her to come along. Even better he needs to connect her seatbelt using a hammer – what the…? So weird. Like Annabel , I would have momentarily wondered if I was going to be found dead in a ditch or a watery grave.

I adore the introduction to Owen’s musical tastes –

“…I braced myself for punk rock, thrash metal, something fast and loud…Instead, after a bit of staticky silence, I heard…chirping.”

I guess even a seemingly perfect guy has his faults. Tee hee. Crickets? I find crickets to be intensely annoying and can’t imagine listening to them for pleasure. That being said, the way Sarah describes it makes it appealing.

Owen is a challenge and he challenges the thinking of those around him. His question posing whether Annabel likes music initiates his theory on music in general:

“Some people think they like music, but they have no idea what it’s really about. They’re kidding themselves. Then there are people who feel strongly about music, but just aren’t listening to the right stuff. And then there are people like me.”

He’s a category unto himself. It perplexes me that I find this declaration stimulating rather than repelling. He’s very sure of himself and that’s a great trait…in Owen. I mean he calls himself “enlightened” which is pretty wanky, but I don’t feel that way about it at all.

I also love the contrast of the somewhat dark and broody Owen with a pink-obsessed sister. That they also have a positive relationship is also a great element. It’s a fantastic turnaround, going from enlightenment to hero worship within a page. No wonder Owen apologised pre-emptively. I find Mallory terribly cute, I have taught girls like this and they are always a joy (unless they travel in groups bigger than four).

Bitsy Bond and her single Pyramid sounds like some pop sing I know…hmm. I wonder if she’s had two kids with a backup dancer or has her own Disney show. Both options sadden me. Where’s a Zefron mention when you need one?

I love that Owen has his own radio show that he’s crazy passionate about. I read this book before I started podcasting but now that I do, I totally get how soul consuming it is. That being said, I get distracted by many things and I very much doubt anything could detract Owen. Despite the undesirable timeslot, he’s extremely enthusiastic in sharing his enlightenment.

First reference to another Sarah Dessen novel – Owen possesses the Truth Squad’s Opus on CD. Yay for Dexter and crew.

Rolly is introduced complete with ponytail (ew) and helmet (what?). He’s completely redeemed by a) his embarrassment at having forgotten he’s wearing a helmet and b) he’s the sacrificial lamb at a self-defence school. LOVE IT.

It takes Annabel forever to realise that despite all her preconceptions of Owen, he may have had many about her. She assumes he’s hear d horrible stories via the Sophie poison ivy vine. He hasn’t and even better, he’d tell her if he had. If we’ve learned anything about Owen, it’s that he’s straight up.

Finally, in the span of this novel so far, Annabel has found someone who listens and will tell her the truth. And Owen…well he’s got one more listener for his radio show.

2 thoughts on “Just Listen – Chapter 5

  1. Jen says:

    The fact that you finally have a new entry makes me warm and fuzzy inside. You should lock the books that you are reading in a safe beneath your desk. That way no wayward students can take them. I’m just kidding, of course…sort of. A new podcast to add to the blogging event, I assume? *sigh* Well, you can’t blame me for trying. I’m sure that you are very busy. Adios

  2. Lyse says:

    On the AOL radio station here in the U.S.A. (I don’t if you have it in AU) we have a Nature Sounds station (under Lite Sounds) where you can hear anything from rainstorms to beach sounds. And you can hear crickets chirping as well. Go figure. I too adore Mallory. I mean, she can be a bit too much some times, like how she’s too touchy-touchy on Annabel, but I can forgive her since she’s so cute and sweet to Annabel. ^-^ I also have to agree with a comment on the sarah-land livejournal about the Kleenex. After the 3 or 4 time re-reading I feel like I NEEDED Kleenexes. And I seriously want a Coke when I’m reading chapter 3. No, scratch that. I need a Coke through the whole book. Which isn’t good for my complexion. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I am loving your blog and adore reading your posts, they’re so wordy.I hope you keep up the good work (and hope this comment isn’t too long).

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