T.O.T.Week: multiple narrators

Warning: this is a guilty pleasure post, equally as indulgent as my weekly (okay, daily) M&M binge. A highly biased, won’t-change-my-mind-about-it post, because I just adore books with multiple narrators. I adore them in their many different styles and forms – following along as a singular or contrasting narrative, securing connective tissue amongst core characters until the very end, or creating a portal to an important flashback.

Now, I could be incredibly highfalutin and tell you that I appreciate the innate layer of empathy that ties into these stories. “There’s two [or sometimes six] sides to every story” that builds compassion, understanding, and perspective. That is all well, and true, and good. Yet I think what sparks my particular fancy is that these stories can be messy. They may reveal the unreliability of a protagonist’s voice, the danger of a single story (shout out to Chimamanda Adichie for that glorious Ted Talk), the humor within a conflict, the vulnerability of the human condition, and so much more. As the reader, you are constantly kept on your feet and questioning who or what to trust. You may get pulled into a point of view and then a plot development completely flips you on your head. One moment you’re thinking you have a complete understanding of Adam’s broody darkness in Love from A to Z, but without Zayneb’s climactic moment with her teacher, he would never be forced to confront his saddest memories. I could marvel at the dichotomy of the ‘overused’ red crayon and the ‘undervalued’ pink crayon in The Day The Crayons Quit for hours, and still have to ponder which deserves Duncan’s attention. These stories motivate me to become an active participant, helping to mediate conflict, rebuild connection, or establish my own point of view. Either way, there is nothing that can turn me away from books just like these four!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (picture book)

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli (middle grade book)

Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali (YA novel)

Everything I Told You by Celeste Ng (adult book)

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