Sunday, January 11, 2009

Handcuffs by Bethany Griffin

Have you ever been obsessed with something, whether it be a person or a desire, and then come to learn that it wasn't what you thought? This novel explores the consequences of our desires and the steps we need to take to recover.

Parker broke up with her boyfriend, but she can't get him out of her head. They broke up because he couldn't give her the love that she wanted, but maybe his desire for her and her lust for him would be enough. One day, though, things get out of hand when her parents catch her in a pair of his handcuffs in a questionable position. Now Parker's grounded indefinitely but that won't keep her and her ex from being together, not even the nasty rumors that Marion is creating about their relationship on her blog. Parker has no idea why Marion hates her so much since it was Marion's brother who stalked Parker's sister and forced her to get a restraining order, but that's just another can of worms involving obsessions and misunderstandings. If Parker didn't have enough to deal with in her love life, her home life is complicated her perfect sister's marriage falling apart, forcing her back in Parker's life while her parents are ultimately broke and losing their house. In the end, Parker is forced to face how she really feels about her ex and who she wants to be because she's tired of everyone considering her an Ice Princess.

This book does a good job of showing things aren't as simple as they may seem. Things in life are rarely black and white and neither are people. This novel forces Parker to explore the truth about the world around her. Parker is also a great character because while everyone sees her as an Ice Princess and this behavior is occasionally exhibited, the reader sees the real her (being written in first person) who is really just misunderstood and trying to protect herself from the harsh reality of life and being a middle child. One thing that struck me as interesting about this novel is the fact that Parker's ex-boyfriend does not have a name. Throughout the novel he is referred to as the ex-boyfriend or him or he but never by a name. This was obviously a artistic move and it makes me wonder why the author decided not to give him a name. I think it's because the boyfriend could be anyone and the author wants the reader to explore his influence on not only Parker's life, but the reader's because the traps the Parker falls into with her relationship are traps that many other teens face. If the character is nameless, the reader can give him a name and maybe reveal something about themselves. Or maybe I'm just putting too much emphasis on something that is really unimportant to the point of the novel.

This book was enjoyable because you connected with Parker and wanted to make her life a little easier. She, like other characters, has good intentions but things just backfire. The book is a worthwhile read for teens.

No comments: