Childhood Memories are the kind you will never forget. I have a video tape of me playing my guitar and singing at the top of my lungs different songs with my grandfather. I love watching that.
But what if your memories are bad? What if your past brought you to a teenage asylum? What if the pain was the only sour remedy or bad medicine that could actually cure? Ellen Hopkins’s Impulse is a book about three teenagers’ hard lives. Tony is one, and he has a hard life. The book talks about his thoughts, cuts, and memories, in his perspective. Conner is another character. He doesn't feel the need to show his emotions/depression, but he thinks that death is his only way out. And Vanessa on the other hand, She is hiding herself in a blade's reflection, blinding the truths from hurried pain.
Everyday teenagers can relate to the book. I mean, who hasn’t thought they’ve gone crazy? That they’ve completely lost it? No one. I believe we all have felt lost, or alone, at one point. No matter how much people love you, no matter how many of them are around. And these are the basic emotion of these three characters. They think they are in “living hell”. To them, every move is to drown in pain. They have many problems; A very conflictive life.
I’m not saying we all don’t have problems. Because we do. Our problems match our lives, and we all live differently. So we can’t compare them, no matter how “similar” they might sound. The kids in the book aren’t exactly, little kids anymore. They are older. Old enough to know right from wrong. And they know that what they are doing is wrong. But I am not one to judge them. I understand. The author’s purpose feels like it’s to express the essence of life. She makes pain look as the main theme, but from where I see it, it’s life.
I think that the main theme of the book is life because we’ve only got one chance to live, and this is it. We can’t exactly, start over, because it’s not a video game. Although I strongly believe in second chances, being born again isn’t one. And so we’ve got to make our lives worth it. So life just kind of stood out to me.
Something I noticed from Hopkins’s writing style is that she won’t say things out directly. You have to find the hidden meaning behind her words, play around with them until they make sense. It sounds like something you have to do with Shakespeare, but still with her. For example, I didn’t realize what she meant when Tony talked about “being into” this new girl. I mean, we all assume he likes her right? But no. I misinterpreted what she meant. He doesn’t normally like girls, he’s gay. And things kinda got weird for me to keep reading from that point on. So I had to just go back a few pages to actually understand what I had misunderstood before. Another example comes in with Conner’s story. He tries to act like he can have everything, anything. But he hides so many secrets, and it seems so easy for him to keep them all bottled up. And since he believes everything he sees, he never actually discovers the truth. He thinks he can tell someone’s story just by looking at you for a minute. Like THAT would say anything about me. But he’s trying to seduce his doctors! And one of them… well, kind of gives in! It was confusing at first, because in a way she happened to know what was going on with him. I find this quite ironic. In my opinion it is because of her body language, what she says and wears. Here is the paragraph in the book:
“Her smile grows wider. Oh, I doubt that, Conner. Now, what did you decide about confiding secrets? My eyes lower to the V of her blouse. ‘you have to go first, but I guess I’m ready to play your game.’ Okay. When I was younger than you, but old enough to know right from wrong, I had sex with a teacher too. She knew?”
I kind of smirked at it. And then I thought of questions. But the author wants to create tension to keep us in focus. And that is a strength in her writing. I really like her writing techniques. They seem simple, but it’s harder than it looks. And I tried to go further in with this book, and tried to capture the purity of what seems like a mistake. Sometimes it seems like there are fragments, but no. it’s just to throw you off. And I really enjoy that.
Impulse combines all times of emotions and themes, and different ways to picture this story. But it still is great no matter what.
Yet, I can describe another example with the last but not least of the characters.
Vanessa’s emotions are deep. Her father is in war while she lives with her grandmother and her brother. And it seems like she can’t really live. It seems to her like she can’t make sense of her life. And so it’s confusing, because she feel a special connection with Tony, and Tony with her, even though he’s gay. This kind of throws of the story and sets a different tone for both characters. All though all 3 are at the same asylum (Aspen Springs), they are different, and this kind of connects them all. This brings them into the story for real.
If there’s anything in common with these three characters, I’d say that they are missing love. They live with too much solitude, and they close up with others instead of opening up. They lack the will to live, and they need to find themselves. I really love this book- I really don’t know why. I just think it’s phenomenal.
We all have impulses. And ones that I consider being the biggest in this book is to:
Break free. Let Go.
Death and all that comes with it.
Think before you act.
Love life ♥