Dexter Jones – This Lullaby
“I just thought to my self, all of a sudden, that we had something in common. A natural chemistry, if you will. And I had a feeling that something big was going to happen. To both of us. That we were, in fact, meant to be together.” – Dexter
“This Lullaby is only a few words,
A simple run of chords,
Quiet here in this spare room,
But you can hear it, hear it,
Wherever you may go,
Even if I let you down,
This lullaby plays on…”
— Truth Squad
I need to apologize, of course, for such a huge gap between posts… I’ve just had minor surgery (the first of a small series) and boy, does it totally suck to be hospitalized. Apparently, I’m also no good with anesthetic drugs, since my sisters are still snickering over whatever I might’ve mumbled under the influence. Great.
So here I am, at last, with the Dexter review I’ve been dying to do. Let’s go over the book description, shall we?
This Lullaby Description
Remy always knows the perfect time to give a boyfriend “the speech” telling him it’s over: right after the first romantic rush, but before any real emotional involvement happens. And Remy should have perfect timing, since she’s had plenty of experience dumping guys. Not to mention what she’s learned from watching her own mother, who’s been married four times and is heading for wedding number five.
So then what is it about Dexter that makes it so hard for Remy to follow her own rules? He’s everything she hates: messy, disorganized, impulsive, and worst of all, a musician like her father. The father Remy never knew, the one who wrote a famous song for her but disappeared from her life. Remy has never had trouble getting out while the getting is good. But there’s just something about Dexter. . . . Could it be that Remy is finally finding out what all those love songs are about?
Sarah Dessen, acclaimed author of Someone Like You and Dreamland, gives readers her most captivating novel yet, as she introduces us to a girl who believes her heart is made of stone and the boy who proves her wrong.
I have to admit, when I first read the back of this book, I cringed. It’s a problem I’ve had since high school, when a few bad experiences taught me to be wary of phrases like “acclaimed author” and “most captivating novel yet”. Those words are almost always synonyms for “this author sucks, and his/her editors are about to be fired… so [;ease spend your hard-earned money on it and save our jobs”.
After all, I’d never even heard of Sarah Dessen, so how was I to know that I’d fall so hard for her books? Of course, now those phrases seem kind of restrained to describe the awesomeness that she personifies, but that’s beside the point.
This Lullaby was not my first Dessen novel, but it quickly became my favorite of her admittedly incredible collection. The story of a teenage girl who’s older than she is, and a crazy guy who might be the sanest thing about her life, so many of us could relate to this in one way or the other. Whether it’s about Remy’s relationship with her scatterbrained mother, the parade of oblivious stepfathers, her reluctance to become close to a guy, or even just her acceptance of her father’s abandonment and never having known him – there’s a Remy in all of us, one way or the other. We’ve all been teenagers, and thought we knew everything at some point. We’ve all heard the love songs, read the romance novels, and watched the chick flicks, and believed that love could change all. This book’s for all of us, if just to show that we can be wrong, and sometimes love’s just love. An intense feeling that lets other people in, and teaches us more everyday.
I want to take a minute here and say this: it’s almost impossible for me to read a book and not try to visualize a movie version for it. It’s a disease – as soon as I finish a book (or even while I’m reading it) I’m thinking of how it would play out on the screen, who would play the characters, what kind of music would play in the background, the kind of looks and glances and small movements that the actors would make… the works. Which is why, when the movie version comes out, I always pay way too much attention to the details, and end up seeing the whole book differently. So for me to read a book, and experience an intense need not to see it ruined by film, or have my impression of it changed in any way… let’s just say it doesn’t happen a lot. And when it does, I become slightly manic about it.
That’s what my relationship with This Lullaby is like. For a book so musically inclined, you’d think it would be impossible to not try and place Dexter in the skin of any of the scores of musicians whose faces grace my walls, but it just didn’t happen. How do you fit an adorable, nerdy, impulsive guy into the shoes of a slacking, college-dropout, wannabe rockstar? Just doesn’t add up. It’s like believing Betty Suarez moonlights as Shakira, y’know?
But that’s exactly who Dexter is, in all his larger than life and unrealistic glory. So in all frankness, Dexter is the first crush of the fictitious variety that I’ve had in a very long time. He seems hell bent on helping Remy loosen up a little, while not compromising a single aspect of who he is. While that may be annoying in normal guys, Dexter works it out perfectly, because Remy is even worse. He pulls her a little closer, towards his side of the spectrum, which somehow makes her more normal and better able to handle Dexter in turn. There are these great quotes in the book that sort of illustrate this:
“Love is needing someone. Love is putting up with someone’s bad qualities because they somehow complete you.”
– Sarah Dessen (This Lullaby)
And what might be the most appropriate quote to ever hit Dissecting Perfection:
“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater…The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”
Proving that, of course, the fact that they’re so different might be exactly why they’re so good for each other.
Dexter has a whole slew of flaws, all of which can only truly be appreciated when the book is read and I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t had the pleasure, but his feelings for Remy are undeniable, literally from the moment we first meet him. He seems insane, and impulsive… but he turns out to be the most intuitive of all the characters in the book. Because he knew how it would all turn out when even level-headed, forward-thinking Remy failed.
And anyway, I have a thing for guys who wear ironic t-shirts (watch out for my upcoming review of Marcus Flutie =P) and name their dogs Monkey. Yay, sense of humor!
All in all, I do really love Dexter. Although many girls would redirect guys to Edward Cullen as a guideline for how a guy should be, my opinion is that This Lullaby should become a bible for all relationships. It really and truly shows that:
“You know, when it works, love is pretty amazing. It’s not overrated. There’s a reason for all those songs.”
Read read read this book, over and over again! And remember always, Truth Squad > Spinnerbait.
Date-ability: 4/5 (all right, so he’s a little broke)
Relationship score: 5/5
Hott factor: 4/5
Appearance: 4/5 (it’s the curly black hair – I’d overlook anything else)
Question: Where’s the Remy/Dexter in you? Is there anything from their habits that you’ve chuckled at and thought, “Oh yeah, that’s me”?
And because I can’t humanly stop quoting a Sarah Dessen book once I begin:
“I knew that there were no guarantees. No way of knowing what came next for me, or him, or anybody. Some things don’t last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there.”