Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fall For Anything (Pages 116 - the end): Discussion Post

Hey all!

So, I know this is coming weeks late but here is the final discussion post for FALL FOR ANYTHING! I tried to keep it a bit short but I don't think I really succeeded!

***WARNING: Spoilers for FALL FOR ANYTHING by Courtney Summers***

Okay, can we please talk about that kiss? I mean, ALL THE FEELS GUYS. I wasn't really sure if I saw Eddie and Milo ever being a couple but as soon as this kiss happened, it all just clicked. I was smiling and giddy and excited reading it. It was one of the first happy moments in the book. And although it didn't stay happy for long, it was still such a great moment. Because, unlike the kiss with Culler, this one was was tinged with hope, not sadness. It confused Eddie, yes, but she also seemed hopeful about it, if only for a brief moment. What did you guys think of the kiss?

After the kiss we have a very uncomfortable scene with Milo, Eddie, and Culler at an abandoned school house. My feelings on Culler are still pretty apprehensive at this point. I don't know whether I believe him/if I think his involvement is only going to hurt Eddie more. Milo says something horrible here but, it also might be true. All of them are searching for messages from Eddie's father, messages he seems to have left for them to find. Milo says: "But if he left messages for you to torture yourself with...I think less of him." Obviously, this really upsets Eddie. These messages are the hope she is clinging to. She can't think less of them. But, as an outside observer, what do we think? Are these messages just giving her false hope? Are they just going to lead to more questions? Or, are they what Eddie needs to move on? At this point, I can't really tell. There doesn't seem to be a why to them, at least not yet.

At the end of the third section, Eddie and Culler have set off on this road trip to find the other messages her father left. And there's a line that had me in tears. "I'm hopeful. I can't remember the last time I felt hopeful." It's so simple. There isn't some long-winded soliloquy about life and death and happiness and such. Instead, just a few simple words to rip you apart. Because it is such a beautiful thing, to feel hope. And Eddie hasn't, not really, not in this entire book. So for her to say that is such a huge thing. And my oh my, did it have me all teary.

I'm skipping ahead juuuust a little bit to the scene inside the abandoned house. I can't even begin to describe how heart breaking it is. Could you imagine? Seeing those horrible words written on the wall from your dead father? The words that confirm all your worst nightmares? It utterly ruins Eddie and, as the reader, I felt such enormous heartbreak. I also felt kind of angry. Eddie didn't deserve this. Any of it. And to have such a destructive note left behind was just another stab in the back. It just made me want to hug her. And help her. And do whatever I could to stop the pain she was feeling, full well knowing there was nothing that would ever make it better.

Culler and Eddie head to a motel after that, and end up taking pictures of Eddie without any clothes on. It's kind of a jarring scene though. Eddie, really, has been pretty exposed to the reader mentally this whole time. We have lived these agonizing days inside her head, witnessed her complete grief in every way. This scene is kind of the culmination of that. Of Eddie completely exposing herself, her grief, for everyone to see. In a sense, this is her way of living, of reminding herself that she's still there.

Then, its the morning after and Culler is gone. No note. Not goodbye. Just complete abandonment. To say I was LIVID is a serious understatement. Eddie tries to rationalize it, but even she can't. Not really. As the reader I wanted to hunt Culler down and punch him clear across the face. Eddie has been through enough. How in the world could he put her through more? Because people are selfish like that, I guess. But not Milo. Milo who drives some fourteen hours to pick up Eddie. Who still takes her to the church to find the last note. Who takes her to Culler and circles the block, even though he just wants to protect her from more grief.

And then the big, heartbreaking, breath-stealing reveal: it was all a lie. Culler wrote the messages. Even though I had read this book before, it was such a shock to my system. I couldn't believe it. It was just simply horrible. Such a horrible, selfish, cruel thing to do. Eddie doesn't really even know what to do with herself. She has been pushing herself to find the why. Hasn't really let herself think of anything else. And now, she finds out the why was never within her reach. It was all just a lie concocted by a grieving boy who thought more about himself than her. 

One of the things I love about Courtney Summers books is that the characters are never black and white. There aren't "good guys" and "bad guys". There are people, and other people. Not a single character is perfect. All of them have their faults. But they're all so incredibly human. I'm going to get into this thought more when we talk about This Is Not a Test this month but I really wanted to mention it now in regards to Culler. Because no, Culler doesn't really fall under the "good guy" category. But, is he really in the "bad guy" category either? Yes, he does some really NOT OKAY things. But, he didn't do it out of malice. He did it out of some sense of grief and desperation. It wasn't right. There really isn't anything he could ever do to make it right, but I don't think it necessarily makes him a bad person. Misguided, without a doubt. But also broken.  Even after my second read, I can't really put my finger on Culler. And, you know, I think that might be the point (and I'm actually okay with this question being left unanswered).

We end the story where it all began: on the roof of Tarver's. Without answers, with tons of questions, but with hope. Something that definitely wasn't there when the story began. Hope. Hope that peace is in reach. That Eddie may be able to finally move forward. It's a perfectly imperfect ending. And the one Eddie needed.

There's kind of a reason I took so long to read this book. I was, honestly, afraid of it. It took a bit of courage to pick it back up again (although when it was in my hands it was hard to put it back down). I talked about why here, but to summarize: this book hits me right in the heart. It hits me in all the vulnerable places and that makes it frightening. But also important. Books like these are important. Because they address the issues people shy away from. They talk about issues people are suffering from every single day. They start the conversation. And they give people hope. This book gave me hope. And that is the most amazing thing in the world.

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

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