Going into the woods by yourself is the best way to pretend you’re in another time. It’s a thing you can only do alone…If I had a lot of money, I would buy acres of woods. I would put a wall around them and live there like it was another time. Maybe I would find one other person to live with me there. Someone who was willing to promise they’d never speak a word about anything in the present. I doubt I could find anyone like that.
That’s one of those frozen memories for me, because there was something in Greta’s solemn wave that made me understand it was about something bigger. That as the elevator door eclipsed the look between us, we were really saying goodbye to the girls we used to be. Girls who knew how to play invisible mermaids, who could run through dark aisles, pretending to save the world.
After a snowstorm is one of the best times to be in the woods, because all the empty beer and soda cans and candy wrappers disappear, and you don’t have to try as hard to be in another time. Plus there’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special, even though you know you’re not.
“Believe what you want,” she said, turning away and heading for the stairs. But that was impossible and Greta knew it. You could try to believe what you wanted, but it never worked. Your brain and your heart decided what you were going to believe and that was that. Whether you liked it or not.
As someone who was a teenager during the late 1980s, and fully remembers the hysteria surrounding AIDs, this book brought back many memories – not all of them good. It’s an excellent and authentic tale. However, it portrays teenagers doing things that most parents would prefer their children refrain from considering, much less actually doing. I highly recommend this novel to fellow cold-war era survivors, but I’m not certain I would feel comfortable handing it over to a teenager.
On the other hand, when I was a late-80s teen, teachers and other adults handed me novels like The Scarlet Letter, The Lord of the Flies, Watership Down and a handful of Russian novels that I strongly suspect I understood better than my instructors – particularly when it came to the methods of survival utilized by primary characters. Perhaps I am overly cautious.
“I figured that on the day you died, the tunnel would be so narrow, you’d have squeezed yourself in with so many choices, that you just got squashed...I thought about Finn. How he did whatever he wanted. Just like my mother said. He never let the tunnel squash him. But still, there he was. In the end he was still crushed to death by his own choices. Maybe what Toby said was right. Maybe you had to be dying to finally get to do what you wanted.”
“I used to think maybe I wanted to become a falconer, and now I’m sure of it, because I need to figure out the secret. I need to work out how to keep things flying back to me instead of always flying away.“