Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Musings: The Bermudez Triangle

The Bermudez Triangle

I read this nearly a month ago, but it stuck with me. Maybe because I wasn't a huge fan of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and it made me figure out why Maureen Johnson is such a big deal. But I think it's more because it did things I've had trouble with, masterfully.

Third-person, three main characters whose stories work like a double helix, separating and coming back together to keep the story moving. The three protagonists were individuals with whom I could connect to, even though presenting characters like that in third-person, and with three of them, can be very difficult.

The subject matter of the book could have made it preachy. Sexuality in teenagers often leads to books all about how it is OKAY to be DIFFERENT and this is SHINY and HAPPY. In the Bermudez triangle, it's not. There are complications, but also side-stories. Life goes on, even though the characters are discovering who they are sexually as well as in general.

Johnson also created a believable world for her characters to live in. Their families were fleshed out, and locations described well. The thing was, while the secondary characters were amusing, sometimes they didn't seem to have a purpose. I'm of two minds about this, because while Nina's roommate in her summer program was funny, for instance, she didn't add to the plot. I think if characteristics of these people had been in the more major characters the novel might have been richer. But other details like the ones pertaining to the Irish-themed restaurant Mel and Avery work at were dead-on relatable. Maybe I'm just picky about character!

The wholeness of this book is what resonated with me, I think. The interwoven plots and themes. I learned a lot from the way Johnson managed the time span, and the multiple interesting characters.


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