Study Guide

The Truth About Forever Identity

By Sarah Dessen


My dad died. And I was there. This was how people knew me. (1.36-37)

Do you think people really thought of Macy that way, or did she just assume that was the case? Either way, at the beginning of the book, Macy's identity seems pretty wrapped up in how other people see her.

[M]y dad just knew me, knew what made me happy. (1.76)

Having someone around who really gets you can help you feel stronger about your identity, right? When Macy loses that person, she might feel like she's lost a little piece of herself, too.

If I wanted people to see me as calm and collected, I had to look the part. (2.2)

What do you think of this strategy? We can't quite tell if Macy wants to be calm and collected, or if she just wants other people to think she is. Or is it both?

I'd gotten so used to being known as the girl whose dad died, I sometimes forgot that I'd had a life before that. (2.197)

We don't really hear too much about Macy's life before her dad's death. All we really know is that she loved her dad and she loved to run. This passage helps us understand why Macy doesn't reveal more about her past; after all, she feels like a totally different person now.

It was like that part of my life, my running life, was just gone. (3.11)

Look what she says here: "was just gone." But wait a second. Wasn't she was the one who stopped, and packed it all away? Why does she feel like her loss of identity is something she can't control?

[T]he beach shack was my dad. (3.85)

Even the beach shack has an identity—and it's totally tied up with Macy's dad. If you think about it, all of her memories of her dad are of fun times: running, vacations, getting packages. What does that tell you about their relationship?

With Delia, though, I wasn't that girl, the one whose dad had died. I wasn't anybody. And I liked that. (5.114)

Does Macy really want to be nobody? Wasn't she nobody with Jason? How is that different from her identity around Delia?

So while at home I was still fine-just-fine Macy, […] the nights when I arrived home from catering, I was someone else. (6.69)

What is it about the catering gig that makes Macy actually fine, instead of "fine-just-fine." Is it the job? The people? The chaos?

A]ll I could think was that these weren't my clothes, this wasn't who I was. (7.38)

Macy's makeover might just be a little sneaky symbolism for you. While she's definitely not the type of girl to put tons of stock in appearance, this makeover does change her a bit. Does she like it?

It seemed no matter where I turned, someone was telling me to change. (7.199)

Here's a question for you: is this true? How much of Macy's identity issues are coming from the outside, and how many of them are in her head?