Under more mundane circumstances the three protagonists of Ellen
Hopkins' fine coming of age novel, impulse, would not have ended up
sharing space, let alone lives. Conner is the suburban golden boy
with the posh house, preppie wardrobe, picture perfect high achieving
family...in most people's eyes everything. Tony is the waif living
alone on the streets after serving time for killing a boyfriend of his
mother's who stole his virginity when he was only eight. Vanessa and
her little brother live with their grandmother. Their military father
is off on tours of duty while their bipolar mother slides between
phases of lucidity and delusion.
"By the time I was ten,
I knew to hide when Mama
Started talking to the air."
Conner, Tony, and Vanessa have two things in common. They hit
the rock bottom point where suicide seemed the only way out of a
seemingly intolerable existance. However, they were discovered in
time for a second chance. As patients at Aspen Springs, an inpatient
psychiatric facility, they must work to discover what demons drove
them to acts of desperation and how they can cope when they are once
more integrated into the outside world.
Through Hopkins' beautifully crafted poetry you get to know the
characters intimately through their thoughts about themselves and each
other and their interactions. Trust is hard won. Each of these young
people has been let down a lot before. Admissions come slowly,
haltingly. But to survive they must become known to each other.
Once again Hopkins has created a brilliant coming of age
narrative that should captivate young and not so young adults,
especially anyone who has loved a friend or family member facing
On a personal note, with my husband partying with the deer ticks at
camp and Adam away, leaving me and Joey cat to home alone, Labor Day
Weekend had the potential to be a total downer. Fortunately I had a
chance to audition on Friday and Saturday for a musical, The Evil
Dead. I live for auditions. I had a really great time throwing
myself into the reading and dancing. But when I sang I had an amazing
surprise. I had only sung a Capella to my cat before that. I thought
I'd do piss poor. But when I opened my mouth I projected and hit the
notes. I had no idea where that decent alto came from. I'd chosen my
song in a spirit of theological irony BTW. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep
Silent with the picture of Christ demanding full homage as an audition
piece for The Evil Dead. ;)
No, I did not get a part. But I had a great time trying out.
A great big shout out goes out to Elaine and Christina who are about
to put that production on and the cast they have assembled. I have
faith that they will come up with something special.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod