I don’t usually finish a book in just one day, but Robyn Schneider’s work forced me to do so. Because of my satisfaction in The Beginning of Everything, I read Extraordinary Means.
In Extraordinary Means, two disease-stricken individuals narrate their gripping tale when they entered a world away from what is natural to everyone just because they carry something that might infect the rest of humanity.
It’s not often to meet characters like Lane and Sadie in a story that offers a feel-good experience. I feel like Lane whenever I enter a new niche where everyone and everything seem to be strange. Though that would be normal, being new in a new world put so many questions in our head in a way that we tend to create stories and explanations to answer our deepest questions. On the other hand, Sadie and her clique remind us that trying to be radical in a totally and usually conforming microcosm might bring us the happiness that we always yearn to have. When Lane finally joins the group, I realized that many of us have the chance to fit in and find happiness (whether it’s temporary or permanent) with the people who will share our joys and pains.
“Except right now I didn’t want to rate my pain. I wanted to rate my grief. And there wasn’t a number high enough,” Sadie expressed the feeling –when Charlie (one of her friends) died–that most of us might feel during times that we would never want to happen. Reading the book makes us experience pain and present to us how we should handle them when we encounter them in our own lives no matter how unbearable it is.
If I would be sick with a contagious disease, I wish there’d be a place like Latham where I can feel home. I wish there’d be people around to understand my condition. But whether we are sick or not, the idea of a place where we can be ourselves and live a perfectly wonderful life is promising. That makes the reading experience a nice journey.
In the end, the book spells out what extraordinary means is. Our endings are not a product of fate, but of the choices we make. No matter what circumstance we face, our response to those trivialities in life matters most. Some endings might be what we want, but some are not. Still, counting on the important lessons on our course makes life a worthwhile experience.
I can’t imagine how this book might inspire other readers like me. When they read, they might see themselves as Lane or Sadie. Not the sick ones, but the strong against all odds.