I’m a walking paradox, friends. I’m an English teacher who hates reading. Hated reading. Had a love-hate relationship with reading. Let me explain.
I grew up an avid reader and was even teased for carrying a book wherever I went. I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment when my love for reading started to dwindle, but I assume it was around college and/or graduate school. The more classes I took, the less time I had. The more technology advanced, the more I depended on it. The more school required me to analyze and analyze, the less I enjoyed reading. Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, says it better than I can. In school, I had to “tie the poem [or any other written work] to a chair with rope/ and torture a confession out of it./ […] beating it with a hose/to find out what it really means.” When I started higher education, reading was no longer a wonderfully enjoyable experience, and with every book I was forced to read for class, I hated it more and more…until now. Thank you, Nicola Yoon.
A month ago or so, I was scrolling through Instagram when I stumbled upon a trailer for a new movie. Attractive girl lives in a glass house. Attractive boy moves in next door. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Girl can’t leave glass house. Girl is allergic to everything and would die if she left. I grew more and more curious, especially when I discovered this upcoming feature film is based on a book: Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything (published 2015). I had to read it…and so I did.
It’s been years since I’ve picked up a book and read it for pleasure, let alone in just a few hours. I couldn’t put it down. I lost track of time. I fell in love as Maddy and Olly fell in love. I feared as they feared. I hurt as they hurt. I died when I got to the black page (watch out). Yoon’s characters were so incredibly real, honest, relatable, and genuinely likable.
It was a fun, quick, and easy read, but there were moments when the plot line seemed so far-fetched and unrealistic. What gave me the most pause, however, is the plot twist towards the end. I loved Maddy’s relationships with her nurse, Carla, and obviously her boyfriend, Olly, but the relationship she had with her mother was the most beautiful one of the book, and Yoon destroyed it without appropriately unpacking and reconciling things. What unfolded between them seems like a pivotal moment, and unfortunately, it was so rushed and unfinished that I felt cheated. I’m hoping there will be a sequel so we’ll get a chance to see the aftermath of what transpired.
All in all, I loved Everything, Everything, and I can’t wait to see the film when it’s released next month. Have any of you read it or plan on reading it? Comment below!