Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Take Me Away

Guess who gets to go to school every single day this week, without missing any classes? This girl! Normally, you wouldn't be expecting an average high school student to praise the opportunity for a week's worth of perfect attendance, but when you acknowledge the fact that I haven't been able to regularly attend classes for a full week for over a month, it seems more the feat. Believe me, there's not much I love more in this world than the opportunity to be a Daffodil Princess, but I'm certainly missing out on the whole "actually going to school" thing.

And in going to classes, I'm finally able to understand my homework assignments, instead of struggling through them on my own. I'm also able to understand how woefully unprepared I am for taking the AP Calc and AP Chem tests come May. So, time for school, Daffodil, and AP prep, has left me with little to no time to actually read at all.

In finding respite from all this Spring madness - What is that? In the sky? I mean, that big, shiny, round thing? Is that the sun??? - I turned to my bookshelf for something that could take me as far away from pages upon pages of testing information as possible. My fingers ended up finding something that had already provided me with sanctuary during a time of crisis: How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, by Sara Nickerson - my favorite book from when I was 10-12 years old.

Confession time: I was kind of an antisocial kid. Only, replace "kind of" with about ten thousand "really"s. In many ways, I've dealt with the feelings of shyness that kept me in from recess every day with a book in my lap, instead of out on the sports field playing kickball (which I still believe is one of the world's most cruel and vindictive schoolyard pastimes). However, after finding this book again in my hands, I once again felt the need to sequester myself in my room until it was finished. :)

Reading the story, about a young girl's quest to find the answers to her father's mysterious death - connected to a big, creepy house on an island in the Pacific Northwest - felt as right as it did back when I still had braces. Involving running away from home, bullies, and actual comics incorporated into the text, I remember identifying with the main character, Margaret, over the fact that neither of us had many friends. While she also had a pesky little sister named Sophie, a mentally and emotionally vacant chain-smoking mom, and an uncle who thought he had turned into a rat, I had all the time in the world to read and reread this book, which you can tell I did, based on the amount of wear and tear on it's bindings.

Viewing it again, this time, with the additional knowledge and viewpoints I've gained since graduating middle school, and almost having completed high school, I can say that the story still stands up. I had been afraid that, being a different person now than I was then, the story wouldn't be as thrilling, suspenseful, or emotionally-involving as it always had been. Instead, I can definitely say that this kid's novel is still as unique and different as I remember it being.

#23. How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found, by Sara Nickerson (Scholastic Inc, 2002)

PS. And you see those carefully arranged packages beneath my copy? Those, my friends, are my cap and gown, and graduation announcements! I'm almost outta here! :)

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