I am reading a book called: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it is a very great book thus far (page 160). The narrator is a girl named Lara Jean, she is a 16 year old girl, whom has written a bunch of love letters to well, all of the boys she has loved before. She puts every last detail about how she feels about the boys, talks about everything, from how they met and special moments they had together. She puts the addresses on each of the letters, which is where I believe she messed up as her father ended up accidentally mailing them out, and the boys got them. I would have to say that we can trust the narrator as it is a first-person account of how she handles the situation, which would been hard for anyone since those kind of feelings are usually kept inside so that no one will ever know. Since it is a first-person account I would have to say that Lara Jean is not biased, as you are basically going along with her on her personal struggles so to speak, and it’s not like she is going to be lying to herself about her own struggles, even if she is trying to make it seem better for herself.
- Reminiscing about the past through flash backs, which give the reader a deeper understanding/connection with her, for example: the reasons/stories behind why she liked each boy, or how her mother died and how it affected the family.
- Love: the whole book seems to be based around the love or rather the idea of love to a teenage girl as is was the love that she had for each boy that pushed her to write those letters so that she could rid herself of those feelings. This is also a major theme which I will mention later.
- The most repeated element is family, this is very evident as Lara Jean is always remembering her mom through flashbacks, and giving us insight to how the death impacted the family, like Margot, the eldest sister, taking on more responsibility, practically becoming the mother figure to her two younger sisters, and she tries to make her sisters help their dad as much as they can because he is a single father raising three girls on his own, so it is obviously challenging for him. And there is great sadness amongst the family once Margot leaves for Scotland, since she is pretty much the central part of the family.
The characters speak in a very casual manner like how regular teenagers speak to one another. This is very important as it creates an even greater connection with the reader because it helps relate to the reader as being a teenager/coming of age is something everyone goes through, and it is a very crucial/stressful time. That relatability really contributes to the story because once then you can put yourself in Lara Jean’s shoes so to speak, which gives a greater effect in telling the story, much like Shakespeare’s work, though it is very old, it deals with the issues that all of us encounter in our lives to this very day, which makes it such a timeless piece, and that is why relatability is such an important thing, even in something that seems as small as dialogue.
The conflict in the story is the painfully honest love letters, written for nobodies’ eyes but hers as sort of a way of letting go of her feelings because once she pours all of her feelings into that letter, she no longer has feelings for the person, getting sent to the guys who she wrote about in the letters, although it was addressed to them, it was never intended to be sent to them. It could be compared to Charles Bukowski’s poem, Bluebird because the way she feels is the same way the man feels and writing it down seemed to be a great way of dealing with it, here is a direct quote “there’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too tough for him, I say, stay in there, I’m not going to let anybody see you.” This shows that the man is embarrassed about his true feelings/ inner self, which is also true about Lara Jean, there are both writing down their feelings as way to let it all out, however in Lara Jean’s case, the embarrassment rears its ugly head as the guys whom she wrote all her feelings toward, got the letters, exposing her. I am currently not far enough in the book to know whether is truly gets resolved or not, but I can tell you that she is trying fix the problem, however not in the most honourable way, but let’s wait and see how this all pans out.
- Love: Lara Jean is writing her true feelings of love towards these boys down on paper and throughout the story, she shows where the love or rather feeling of love has stemmed from. And funny enough, love as good as it may seem, is the source of all of her problems.
- Embarrassment: Once all of the letters are received by the guys, she is very embarrassed as those kind of things should have never been let out for others to see, which is understandable as we all have secrets and things that we do not want others to know about, like Bluebird by Charles Bukowski, mentioned earlier.
- Sadness: Lara Jean is always talking about her mother’s death, and how Margot being in Scotland is very hard for the family and it brings in a lot of sadness as Lara Jean almost has a dependency on Margot, which is very evident when she is on her way to the mall after Margot leaves, and she is so used to her dad, or Margot in the passenger seat, that she actually gets into an accident because of it.
- Family: Lara Jean is referred to as a home body by two of her friends, because the death of her mother impacted the family so much, they try to stick together and stay in each other’s lives as they fear losing one another. Family plays a great big role in the story as it seems to be the central factor in the whole story, like whenever she thinks of what Margot would do, or what her mother would want, or how to help ease the load on their father, she is relating everything back to her family life, which obviously means that it is a really important factor.
That is the end of my first reader’s journal thank you for taking the time to read this, please take the time to comment on how I did as well as what I can do better for next time.