"Talk to us enough to think you're okay, but don't say what you really think. It makes us uncomfortable. And God forbid we should be uncomfortable." -- Pg. 57
In The Theory of Everything by J.J. Johnson, fifteen-year-old Sarah Jones is not ok. But she doesn't want her family or boyfriend to know that. Sarah is still reeling from the death of her best friend Jamie. Before Jamie died (BJD) everything was great. Sarah was outgoing and social. In the months since Jamie died (SJD) everything has changed. Sarah is no longer the person she used to be. The other half of her is gone, and she doesn't know how to move on.
How do you go on after losing someone close to you? Jamie died in a tragic accident. It just doesn't seem fair to Sarah that she is alive and Jamie is dead. She blames herself for not doing more to save Jamie. At just 15, Sarah doesn't have all the answers. But you wouldn't know it by the words that come out of her mouth. She is not only snarky to her brother, Jeremy, and her boyfriend Stenn, but Sarah isn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with her parents. She curses and gets into screaming matches with her parents. She cuts classes. She sneaks out at night. She questions their authority at every turn. Like all teenagers, she knows what's best not her parents. It all sounds like typical teenage angst, but Sarah is grieving. How much rope do they give her? A lot in my opinion. Grieving or not, I don't think I would be alive if I ever spoke to my family they way Sarah does. What's Sarah's punishment for skipping classes? Oh she's grounded for the weekend!!
Towards the middle of the book, Sarah's constant sarcasm was getting on my nerves. Not everything is a joke. Sarah's attitude is alienating her from her boyfriend and family. People don't know what they can or can't say to her and it's all because she won't talk about her true feelings. It takes a perfect stranger to break Sarah out of her shell. To repay a debt, the creepy possum dude (read the book to know what I'm talking about) a.k.a Roy forces Sarah to work on his Christmas tree farm. Initially the work is hard, but Sarah comes to see another side of Roy. Sarah comes to realize he isn't a creepy dude, but someone who is struggling with his emotions. A tragic event changed Roy's life, but he channeled his own grief into helping other. You never know what a person is struggling with until you get to know them. If it's ok for Roy to move on, then maybe it's ok for Sarah, too.
I liked Sarah's relationship with Roy the most. To start, Sarah felt slightly intimidated by Roy. There was no point in being snarky with him. Even though they met under unusual circumstances (seriously read the book to know what I'm talking about), Roy helped save Sarah from herself. By the end, of course Sarah doesn't have all the answers because she's a teenager. But you have hope for her future, and that she is finally starting to grow up.
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Peachtree Publishers ) in exchange for an honest review.