Read Solitario. Esta no es una historia de amor by Alice Oseman Free Online
Book Title: Solitario. Esta no es una historia de amor|
The author of the book: Alice Oseman
Edition: Planeta Publishing
Date of issue: June 2nd 2015
ISBN 13: 9786070726446
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 548 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1634 times
Reader ratings: 4.4
Read full description of the books:
I started writing books when I was thirteen.
They were terrible. Man, they were bad. I also wrote fanfic, which I think was actually a better use of my time - I learned so much from writing fanfic. And I think the reason why my fanfic was better than my original ninety-page "novels" was because, at thirteen, a person simply does not have the range to write with enough nuance, restraint, or sociological knowledge.
The biggest thing I've learned since I started writing books almost ten years ago (oh my god, now you can guess how old I am! Japes) is that the most important thing, barring anything else, is an understanding of human psychology. I don't mean that a person has to trawl through four years of a psychology degree and read medical journals from Harvard; that's not the sort of psychology I'm talking about. What I mean is that a person has to have taken a certain number of steps, and met a certain amount of people, and been involved in many different social scenarios, to properly understand how to write actual people.
This probably seems like a really simple concept: Kiki, don't talk shit, obviously a person has to meet people in order to understand how they work. Yes, but think about that. I want to preface the next paragraph with a disclaimer: I don't mean to offend any teenage writers out there. Or, for that matter, any teenagers. Teenagers are the heirs to our planet and I write for them. I write FOR THEM. Teenagers are complex and brave and being a teenager is incredibly hard, and it only gets harder from thereon out, because after the teens does not come a plateau. After the teens comes the fucking twenties, man, and getting through that shit is like walking through an endless snowstorm that you're inappropriately dressed for. If I stood in front of a panel and had my twenties graded, I'd probably hit a borderline C-.
But I have to say this, because I was a teenage writer: teenagers, more often than not, don't have the range to write books. Especially books about weighty topics such as mental health and suicide and love and hope and redemption. "Love" is the worst one, because too many people treat it too simply, like narratives on immortality. Love and immortality are subjects that human minds have not even begun to scratch the surface of. Love in particular is a topic that still bewilders us completely, and when we pretend to understand it, that's when we all fall down. (This sounds really cheesy and also very sarcastic, but guys, I'm being serious. For once.)
There are some exceptions, of course, but they belong to the most exceptional teenagers, like Malala Yousafzai. But the average teenager is not equipped to deal with these sorts of topics, and they shouldn't be expected to. In the small window of time that it takes to transition from being a teenager to being an adult, a person's view of the world, and of psychology, changes drastically. Teenagers look towards themselves for insight into human behaviour, because of course they do. Someone who is still forming, both socially and biologically, is of course looking inwards and not outwards. But looking outwards is vital because that's how a better understanding of humans works. It's how you create a narrative that isn't filled with people who are exactly the same as you.
Given the hard work that goes into writing a book, I admire teenager authors who are willing to tackle it. I did, and it was exhausting. But write what you know is, contrary to many think pieces that refute it, extremely important, and it also relies on knowing outside of your small circle. And the opportunity to step outside of that circle is a very difficult thing for the average teenager to access.
I can't say a lot about this book that hasn't already been said. The maturity level of the writing, plot, and character development leaves a fuckload to be desired. It's a book that doesn't really know what it is, doesn't know how to pace itself, and doesn't know what it's trying to say. I doesn't know the nuances of mental illness, of how not to use characters as plot devices, of how to legitimize statements like, "I feel like I might be the only person with a consciousness, like a video-game protagonist, and the rest are computer-generated extras who have only a few select few actions, such as 'initiate meaningless conversation' and 'hug'". This is either a very tongue-in-cheek reference to teenage hubris, which I doubt, since this book takes itself laughably seriously, or an actual observation from someone who has absolutely no awareness of anything that is happening around them. This attitude, holier-than-thou, is never countered. There is a small sentence at the end in which the protagonist states "each person is a whole person" but how is this something that needs to be realized? And this follows a problematic half-plot in which a Manic Pixie Dream Boy saves the protagonist from her completely unfounded pessimistic view of the world.
Unfounded, because Tori is not suffering from a mental illness. The symptoms simply are not there. You can disagree with me if you want, but I'm going to need some concrete proof for this, of which there is none. Tori is dealing with feelings of low self esteem, but these are circumstantial issues, natural in teenagers going through a transition phase; I don't see a fucking shred of evidence to suggest that there's anything clinically wrong with this girl. She's a narcissist, yes, and extremely selfish, but these aren't illnesses.
Here's the thing: circumstantial mental health issues arise from outside factors and are not chronic. They don't last forever. They can be very upsetting, and shouldn't be belittled, but call them what they are. Treat them how they need to be treated. Do not monopolise resources that are there to treat people who are dealing with mental illnesses that affect every facet of their lives, that prevent them from living their lives, that affect their ability to function - clinical mental illnesses are often lifelong and caused by internal chemical imbalances or other physical factors that cannot be cured. Think on this: how does the "trendiness" of mental health issues, and the number of people erroneously self diagnosing, delegitimise the struggle of people who have chronic mental illnesses - and circumstantial ones too - that prevent them from functioning?
Circumstantial mental health problems are serious and people suffering with them need care, help, and understanding. But those dealing with them do not need to scream over the voices of people who are forced to accept that their clinical chronic mental illnesses are going to be a lifelong struggle.
And these people who feel a little bit nervous on the first day of university, or don't like going to the doctor, and act as if these reactions are so abnormal
and mean they have a mental illness, and self diagnose... Idk. I don't have time for that. I don't have time for people who are so sheltered and out of tune with what's going on around them that they think feeling a bit sad on one rainy afternoon means they have chronic clinical depression. They think that it's somehow abnormal to feel overwhelmed when you're a teenager and making decisions that'll impact the rest of your life.
I know people who've done this. People who've gone to the doctor to get medication for mental illnesses that they openly admit they don't have. People who get that medication because it's "trendy" to stand in the queue for an appointment at the doctor when you've got no business there, pushing back patients who actually need to get medical attention. Just so that they can join in discussions on Twitter that they have no business being a part of.
The situation with me, personally, is complex and a daily struggle and I honestly don't have the fucking strength to talk about my own mental health. Besides, it's private. But what I will say is that it personally angers me, very deeply, to see people abusing services and making mental health a "trend", spreading total misinformation. It alienates people who are genuinely ill and need serious help. People on the outside see the absurd circus in which unqualified minors get sad because sometimes being a bit sad is part of life, and then decide they have depression, and jump around waving their arms in front of people who actually have experience and have something of value to add to the conversation. Of course, those same minors will grow up and forget about that and go live normal bland lives. But the people they shouted over, the people they silenced, will still be struggling.
I digress. But do you understand what I mean with this?
(This is why the insertion of suicide at the end of this book, during the ridiculous climax, felt so jarring and out of place. One, because it didn't gel with anything we already knew about Tori, and two, because it was handled so pathetically. It was so unbearably blasé. One second we're teetering on the edge of a rooftop, the next, we're sharing a joke about it, and Tori tells us it was accidental. Are you kidding me with this?)
The issue with parents in his book is never dealt with, either, though I was waiting for it to happen; I might have given it another star if it had been in any way expanded upon. In one scene, Tori screams at her mother for not ironing a skirt for her, and when her mother refuses, because she is working from home, Tori concludes that her mother doesn't care about her and nobody cares. This is a girl who is sixteen years old and has two functioning arms that can iron her own fucking school skirt.
It's this sort of entitled, pathetic, self-absorbed behaviour from the protagonist that makes her impossible to sympathize with. I used to go out with a guy who said, "I sometimes wonder if I'm the only living one and everyone else is a programmed robot" and I was so profoundly hurt by this statement that I cut him completely out of my life. Drastic, maybe, but this sort of self absorbed, socially blinkered outlook is not charming or relatable. It's the exact opposite. It's overwhelmingly immature, like this book.
This book just does not know what it's talking about. It's contradictory; nobody twigs that Ben Hope is dealing with internalized homophobia and people need to be helped through that. Nobody joins the dots between Becky desperately wanting to be popular, and how we've all felt that way at some point, therefore not cutting off her relationship with Ben following an incident that she doesn't fully understand. Tori hates her mother for absolutely no reason whatsoever, totally dehumanising her, choosing to be willfully ignorant of the fact that her being able to come home and do nothing, have a constant supply of the food and drink that she wants, and go to a grammar school, is due to her parents working and caring about her wellbeing. Smaller children can't be expected to understand this, but Tori is sixteen years old, and considers herself an authority on everything. She is not expected to get a job, or do anything she doesn't want to do, or be independent in any conceivable way. When she's on her way to a party, her mother drives her there and asks her if she wants some money, and apparently this makes her the worst most uncaring mother who has ever existed.
This book is overwhelmingly white ("their race was never mentioned" is not an excuse; being black or brown is a part of a person's identity, not just their skin colour, and if you write your character with the cultural markers of a white person, then you have to accept that they're a white person) and these characters are overwhelmingly privileged, and the amount of discourse around these issues in YA today means that it's not good enough to simply argue, 'I didn't know'. You did know. We have come far enough that this total blindness towards privilege is not acceptable anymore. This book tried at diversity with its gay characters, but it has no idea how to even scratch the surface of issues like internalized homophobia, and both of its out gay characters were convenient plot devices there to fuel the protagonist's angst. The mental illness of one of these gay characters was also sensationalised beyond belief.
This book failed for me, in pretty much every way. It was melodramatic, socially blinkered, absurdly self-serious and self-important. The constant references to media and pop-culture were absolutely agonizing, and left the book feeling intolerably dated. I'm definitely not the intended audience, but I don't think that as a teenager this would have been the sort of thing I'd have identified with in any way. I do applaud the author for succeeding at such a young age, but that comes with a price tag.
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Read information about the authorAlice Oseman was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She completed a degree in English at Durham University in 2016 and is currently a full-time writer and illustrator. Alice can usually be found staring aimlessly at computer screens, questioning the meaninglessness of existence, or doing anything and everything to avoid getting an office job.
Alice's first book, SOLITAIRE, was published when she was nineteen. Her second, RADIO SILENCE, was released in early 2016.
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