The Truth About Forever
by Sarah Dessen
Analysis: Writing Style
Lively, Real, Vivid
Chatty Kathy—er, Macy
Doesn't The Truth About Forever just feel alive to you? It's so chock full of dialogue, it's almost like watching a movie:
"I thought the only rule was you had to tell the truth." I made a face at him.
"Okay, so there are two rules." He snorted.
"Next you'll tell me there are service charges, too."
"What is your problem?" I asked. (9.233-236)
Can't you just picture Abigail Breslin and Logan Lerman bantering back and forth like that? This definitely isn't one of those books with long descriptions or boring sections that you skip (yeah, we do it, too sometimes). Even Macy's thoughts are written in a conversational way (e.g., "He was so freaking stubborn, or so I was noticing" (9.239]). It sounds like she's just chatting with us, right?
Keepin' It Real
When it comes down to it, Sarah Dessen is a master at capturing the real voice of real teens. Of course, not everyone speaks the same way or does the same things, but we bet everyone who reads The Truth About Forever will recognize someone they know in the characters and their dialogue. Take a look at this example:
"Rachel, you're so freaking stupid." Rachel, hardly bothered, plopped herself down between me and Bert.
"God," she said, tipping her head back and laughing, "remember how much fun we used to have at meets? And you, shit, you were fast. Weren't you?" (7.100-101)
Sound familiar? Probably because you've heard someone talk like that before—might have even been you (or us, for that matter). There's no sugar-coating here, and because of that, we trust our narrator all the more to tell it like it is.
In Living Color
You know how it's the little things that make all the difference? Like, in a cartoon, if the characters never blink, you can just tell that something's off, even if you can't quite put your finger on what? It's like that in a book, too: if the little details aren't there, it just doesn't feel quite as real.
Well, no problem with that here—we've got details coming out the wazoo. Even two-second appearances by minor characters get a touch of vivid reality. Check it out:
She had on a big clunky wooden bracelet that kept sliding up and down her arm with every gesture. (19.53)
With that type of loving attention to detail, you feel like you're right there in the action. It's like the HD version of literature.