Overview (No Spoilers):
Recommended by my good friend, Kari, I’ll Give You the Sun is a delightful work of art! Initially, I was unnecessarily hesitant to start this novel due to sneaking a peak at the synopsis and perceiving a sad story. I’m always reluctant to start anything sad (movies not excluded). However, I very quickly fell under Nelson’s spell as she began to weave this story told from the perspective of two very special twins, Noah and Jude, each from a different, pivotal age (13 and 16, respectively). Despite sharing the unique connection typically associated with twins, Noah and Jude have very diverse personalities, which polarize to a point of collision. I’ll Give You the Sun is the story of a quirky family, torn apart by tragedy and lies, and their journey of healing and truth.
It has been a long time since I have felt as moved by a book as I have by I’ll Give You the Sun. Nelson was able to not only express the characters’ complex emotions through traditional mechanisms, but to further these emotions by creating vivid imagery with Noah’s Invisible Museum and Jude’s Bible thumping. My imagination, especially for the Invisible Museum pieces, went wild and left me a longing to have even one artistic bone in my body to be able to create the beautiful images Nelson leaves for the reader. Overall, please add this book to the top of your reading lists and let me know if the added imagery had as much of an impact on you! I have a feeling I will be mulling over I’ll Give You the Sun for some time to come.
Additional Insight and Comments (Potential Spoilers):
- How amazingly lovely is this quote:“I gave up practically the whole world for you,” I tell him, walking through the front door of my own love story. “The sun, stars, ocean, trees, everything, I gave it all up for you.”For the readings during my wedding ceremony I had love quotes read from some of my favorite literature. This little tidbit would have been near the top of my list. I’m talking instant tears and simultaneous smiling while reading.
- I spent a good portion of the book debating if Grandma was actually a ghost or if she was a figment of Jude’s imagination to cope with her and her mother’s loss. However, her character offered much needed insight and even humor during Jude’s dark times. Specifically this quote spoke to me, “You have to see miracles for there to be miracles.”
- During the first half of the book I, by far, enjoyed Noah’s sections the most due to Nelson’s ability to truly capture his extreme, artistic imagination which bled through to his everyday life. A few examples are the descriptions of Noah’s blood glowing or the terrific ways he defeated the bullies by hitting them with a truck, lightning, etc.
- One interesting thought is that in the first section Noah described one of the bullies, Zephyr, as smelling like the ocean, “…like he’s carrying it on his back…Zephyr dragging the tide along like a blanket behind him…” Jude makes almost the same description of him after he takes her virginity. She claims she can not remove his smell, the smell of the ocean from her for weeks after their encounter, regardless of the perfumes or showers she takes. I find it interesting both twins had this very similar comparison.
- Noah’s initial descriptions of people, e.g., Jude’s hair, Dad’s overwhelming presence, are an actual description of their personalities and quickly/efficiently added to the character development/depth.
- I had guessed almost from Guillermo’s introduction that he was probably the Dianne’s lover. What a terrible sad love story. The ending of this story felt as complete and happy as any I’ve read in a long time.