Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Songs Without Words

Songs Without Words written by Ann Packer is a moving novel that examines life long friendships and how they evolve and the foundations that form the relationship in the first place. Liz and Sarabeth have been best friends since childhood and have supported each other through Sarabeth’s mother’s suicide, and now as adults when Liz’s daughter, attempts suicide, they realize that there are significant cracks in their friendship.

Packer also captures teenage angst and investigates the thought process behind Lauren’s suicide attempt. What were her thoughts leading up to it? Why did she feel that this was her only answer? Will the pain ever go away?

It’s always so interesting to see what sparks a friendship between two people and how they sustain the friendship over long periods of time. Liz was always the caretaker and supportive one, while Sarabeth was the emotional and out of control one. When Liz needs Sarabeth to switch roles and become the supportive one, Sarabeth fails her. Does their friendship have any real substance? Will it survive this obstacle?

Immediately when I started reading this book, I was sucked in. I could relate to it on some many levels; the pain and torment of adolescence, and seeing your best friend’s life move in one direction while yours moves in the opposite. At different points in the story, I was each character and I knew exactly what they were going through. I felt their emotional upheavals. I was angry, sad, stunted, and eventually uplifted. Packer did an outstanding job of making these characters real and vivid.

I was beyond depressed reading this book and not sure if it was the book that did it or my seasonal depression. Songs Without Words is very emotional and I think it started to rub off on me. I would find myself lying in bed at night crying my eyes out while reading it. And even though I related too much to the characters, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was well written.

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