'I'll Give You The Sun' By Jandy Nelson

I have just finished reading this book "I'll Give You The Sun" by Jandy Nelson and I can't stop thinking about it over and over and over again. I am smiling like Noah, or like Oscar, a smile that starts in my eyes but doesn't seem to end anywhere in the face. And I want to write the most awesomeness personified review here, to urge you enough to get yourself reading this book, but I don't know how and where to even begin.

I have witnessed Noah paint and paint like there's no tomorrow; discover a whole new color palette and paint Brian like the freaking Northern Lights; sneak into art classes to sketch live models on blank canvasses and experience magic happen when he became the charcoal himself. 

He thinks art, breathes art, dreams art. Every narrative by him has a self portrait interjected every few paragraphs, every few scenes, so much so that it makes me want to see them for once. Noah sees people's souls. Paints them. Jude's is like a tree on fire. His is like horses galloping. He sees sounds in form of colors. He has a hyperactive imagination.

I have watched him fall for a guy, divorce his twin, hate his father, and yearn for his mother. And this 14 year old is so real. 

I keep wishing to see his Invisible Museum, see his thoughts when he paints in his mind, and watch the brother and sister duo barter the entire universe for a piece of portrait of an English guy. 

Jude is just two or so hours older than Noah. She believes in luck, the Ouja board and her Grandmother's bible of magic remedies essential in life. She carries a burnt candle stub to keep love away, and a four leaf clover to keep luck close. She believes if a guy gives an orange to a girl, her love for him would multiply, so keeps herself away from English accented blokes and oranges. 

She sews floating summer dress, and makes sand sculptures of flying women by the beach which eventually are swept away by the sea before the world sees them. She plays "How would you rather die?" and is a master in the game. 

She considers herself her brother's keeper. She looks out for him, smacks high school kids who go after him, protects him from all that can hurt him. But she also grows jealous of him with time, keeps him from his dearest wish(to pursue art), and wallows in guilt of lost chances to put things right. 

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

The twins finish each other's sentences, get the same in Rock Paper Scissors game, play barter the universe and "how would you rather die". They love each other to bits, can't imagine a world without the other, but still manage to do terrible things to each other out of jealousy.

There's just so much in these 430 pages- familial love, bonds making and breaking, scars that make us whole and all consuming guilt and regret. The tragedy that drives Noah and Jude apart, sets in motion stories that are meant to happen. 

I love Guillermo, the stone sculptor who tutors Jude. And Oscar who likes to play inaccessible. 

"Sketch like it matters, people. There's no other way. We are remaking the world, one stroke at a time, nothing less." Guillermo's quote has been imprinted in my mind.
There is so much art in this book, I felt myself swell with the artistic energies. Paintings, sketches, portraits, sand sculptures, stone giants, constellations of artistic expressions, and the characters remaking the world there own way, one stroke at a time. 

"A painting is both exactly the same and entirely different every single time you look at it."
Brian, the guy who walks with a bag full of meterorites, is fascinated by stones, collects rocks from the space, and wants to run off to the woods with Noah as much as he does. I totally love Brian. 

The twins' father, Benjamin, studies parasites and diseases, and is as complicated as his son. Dianna, the mother, believes in art, loves her children and believes one shouldn't live a lie. She's one of the major characters around which many lives revolve. The axis of the book. 

Oscar is everything that Jude was prophesied about, who's someone else under the veil, who clicks her pictures and believes she's the one he was prophesied about. And the neighbor's parrot named Prophet, brings in the big hilarious timing in the book, parroting away the same sentence for ages- "Where the hell is Ralph?" as if it were a national emergency of sorts. 

The best scenes would be when Jude starts the stone sculptures of her and Noah, when she watches Noah jump from the Devil's drop, when Oscar and Jude lie on the jail room floor discussing their dark painful secrets, and every single time that Noah paints.

There is an entirely new vocabulary to the twins, I cannot fathom how Jandy Nelson managed that. I loved it. The way Noah believes love is bursting into flames, and resisting it is like being on flame retardant. 

I am participating in the #AToZChallenge with #BlogchatterA2Z and I am sharing posts themed around Art for this entire month of April. Share and connect with me on social media.
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  1. Goodness, this sounds like something I want to read immediately! I'm really enjoying your reviews, and you're succeeding in adding to my pile of reading.


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Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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