Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

2009
07.30

loveNYC teens Claire, Jasper and Peter find their lives intersecting in unexpected, meaningful ways after the tragedy of September 11 brings them together. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, Claire is starting her day at school, Peter is skipping homeroom in favor of snagging the new Bob Dylan album, and Jasper is sound asleep. After the attack, Claire is sleepless and anxious, Peter searches for meaning in music, and Jasper shuts down. Peter and Claire know each other from school, and each make a connection with college freshman Jasper after 9/11—Peter asks Jasper out, while Claire runs into him when they are both wandering around Ground Zero, trying to comprehend what has happened to their city, their country and their lives. Slowly, as the three of them muddle through their complicated feelings, they each come to a place of healing that they never would have made it to without each other. And that’s about it. This quiet meditation about the effects of 9/11 on three different individuals isn’t so much about what happened as it is about what happened next. It’s about how we got through and how we continue to get through, and it is full of David Levithan’s trademark thoughtful observations about human nature that always get me right HERE. Like this one attributed to Claire: “If only I still had my faith in old books and reruns. They are among the things I feel have been taken from me, along with humor and hope and the ability to savor.” Or Peter’s thought about the power of music post 9/11: “We all understand that this is just music. We all understand that these songs were written Before—there is no way the band could have known how we would hear them After. But the songs ring true.” As a New Yorker who was working downtown on 9/11, I kept reading this book and saying to myself, “Yes, I remember feeling that way.” But you don’t have to have been in New York on that day to understand the feelings Levithan writes so eloquently about, because in many ways I think we all continue to share the pain and the hope that was generated world wide by the events of September 11.

5 Responses to “Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan”

  1. Kris Hickey says:

    I can’t wait to read this book! Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your blog! I have a small one myself, however it is not as impressive as yours.

  2. Cindy Dobrez says:

    Jen, I read this book and have been trying to figure out what to say in a blog entry. Maybe I’ll just post the link to this. Yes, those of us far from New York City and the other attack sites feel the same way even though our experience was not the same as those right there.

  3. Jen Hubert says:

    Hi Kris, your blog looks great! Love the headline titles you use for your entries. Cindy, as always, I would be honored if you linked from the awesome Bookends to here. A quiet read to be sure, but it will be important to many.

  4. Natalie says:

    David Levithan is amazing, and I know this book will be great just because he is the author. I cannot wait to get it.

  5. tanita says:

    I’ve been afraid to read much September 11th fiction. I read Cecil Castelluci’s graphic, because it was basically an unnamed horror that happened, and we all understood it for what it was… but this sounds like something I can do. Thanks for a good review.

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