Thursday, August 8, 2013

4 to 16 Characters - By: Kelly Hourihan

4 to 16 Characters
by: Kelly Hourihan

5 of 5 stars
Fifteen-year-old Jane Shilling’s best friends don’t know her real name. In fact, they don’t know anything about her at all. Jane’s life has collapsed in the last few years; following the death of her mother, her father turned to drinking, and Jane is reeling from the double blow. To escape, Jane devises a number of online personas, each with a distinct personality, life history, and set of friends. But things become trickier when she finds herself drawing close to some of her online friends, and winds up struggling with the question of how to maintain a real friendship while masquerading as a fake person. With the help of Gary, a socially awkward classmate and competitive Skeeball player who is Jane’s only offline friend, and Nora, her therapist, Jane begins to sift through her issues. The only catch is that that involves taking a long, hard look at what her life’s like when the computer is shut off, and that’s a reality she’s been fighting for years.

my thoughts

This book was totally emotionally perfect, not just because it involves emotions and all, but because those emotions got into me and I was feeling like the main character. I never expect from books to make me feel like this, and not so many have the pleasure, but this book was not like I thought it would be.

My first thoughts about the book… When I first saw the title, I don’t really know what I was thinking about, but I certainly thought that it was a strange title for a book. I was really interesting to know why it has that title, so I begin to read it immediately. I must be sincere, I was totally lost. The first thing I saw after the title and author page was a site web. Then there was like a form, with the name Rachel in it and a bunch of strange answers. I read all, yeah, but I was still lost. Until I reach the first DN private post. After that one, I begin to understand that the book consists in a bunch of internet “material”, as in: emails, chats, posts and even scripts.

So, let me talk about the main character. Jane is a fifteen year old girl that, basically, lives in the internet. After her mother’s death, she becomes obsessed with writing fanfiction, talking to people via internet and making a lot of alters, aka characters. Her dad acts like he doesn’t care. He only drinks and cry, but he is forgetting that he has a daughter who lost a mother, which is very important for a kid. Then, Jane becomes uninterested about school and begin to skip it and not doing any homework or going to the exams. Most of all, people are trying to help her, but she closes herself and only open up via internet. Which is not so good, because that is not exactly her. Those are characters with a “perfect” life. The character that she most uses is Rachel. And she really wish to be her, as Nora told her.

About other characters… My favorites are Gary and Nora. They are the ones that really help her to open up and all. Gary is friend from school that at the end becomes her boyfriend, really sweet. He is always making her laugh and trying to help without her knowing.  Nora is her new old therapist. After she “kicked-out” the last one, Nora becomes the new one and of how Jane describes her, she is old and knows nothing about internet, which she is very interested to know about. The relationship between Nora and Jane is some kind of complicated, because their sessions are face-to-face, but they talk via chat. Jane always brings her laptop and while she checks her emails and all, Nora talks with her via chat. Jane not always answers, but does mostly.

In my personal opinion of the book, it was very constructive. How can you go away from reality and become other person. Then the problems become bigger and begin to crush you, which is not very good. Stress and desperation are the first to show up, and then comes the solution which is talk about it and let all the feeling flow out of you. It’s not easy stuff, but must be done to move on. This book shows you all that and I’m very thankful for it. I would totally recommend this book to everyone I know.

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