Watching some veteran teachers and speakers in literature, I found a very unique and fresh strategy to handle and appreciate a story–looking at a piece of literature on a different perspective.
There was a time that I attended a seminar discussing strategies to use when teaching literature to teen-aged readers. One of those strategies is letting students tell a familiar story in a different perspective. For example, how would the story of Guy de Maupassant’s Th Necklce be different if it was told in the point of view of the necklace? Some experts had previously did it many years back. For example, somebody narrated the story of Three Little Pigs in the point of view of the wolf. It was fun reading those stories because as a reader, we are able to see a different angle of what actually happened.
Teenagers actually appreciate this style because they get to enhance their empathy as they put themselves in the shoes of another character. No wonder why some authors considered writing novels with the same story but with different point of views.
For me, contemporary young adult fiction writers–David Levithan and Gayle Forman — did a great job in their recent literary works.
In his “Everyday” and “Another Day,” Levithan chronicles the story of a unique individual named A who transfers from one body to another . One day, A falls in love with a girl named Rhiannon, and eventually his cycle of transferring bodies become a journey of winning the heart of the girl he loves.
I read Gayle Forman’s “Just One Day” and “Just One Year” after I read Levithan, but I only found out in Levithan’s acknowledgment that he got this style for Forman. In her version, Forman tells the story of two strangers– Willem and Allyson (or Lulu) — who share a day in Paris, a journey that never occurred to them. In that short day, the two were able to admire each other and eventually fall in love. The book paints a picture what happened to them after that day.
Both books have a 2.5 version. Levithan describes what happened to A before he met Rhiannon in “Six Earlier Days” while Forman shares what happened to the couple after they saw each other after a year in Willem’s pad in “Just One Night.”
POINT OF VIEW
“Just One Day” was told in A’s point of view. Since he is the narrator, his identity was only unfolded as he shared the things that happened to him since he met Rhiannon. His narration make readers hard to resist the life of A. His unique life can make any reader sympathize on his situation. It’s really hard to live A’s life.
On the other hand, “Another day” was narrated in Rhiannon’s perspective. Reading A’s account is hard to believe, but being on the shoes of Rhiannon makes it harder to digest. The second installment magnify the intensity and thrill of the previous book. It makes the connection between A and Rhiannon even more romantic. The intertwine of love and fear and other emotions become a thread that tie the entire story altogether. It’s a fun read.
Meanwhile, “Just One Day” was told in the point of view of Allyson (or Lulu). Since it’s a girl’s perspective, it presents issues most girls confront that female readers might relate and male readers might finally understand about women. Allyson is not a perfect character, and that makes her perfectly desirable. A voice that reveals the development of a dynamic character is really sweet and poignant.
“Just One Year” was narrated in the point of view of Willem. Aside from Forman’s triumphant effort to speak through a masculine voice, this book also unfolds the battles most developing men usually encounter. Willem’s character tries to unfold man’s hard-to-understand traits. Reading this book feels like reading a mirror. Those sentiments of Willem are thoughts that exist but we rarely think about.
This kind of style is appealing at present because it allows readers to explore the stories that they read in a more meaningful and deeper way. It opens possibilities for more profound insights and make readers sympathetic as they make judgments among the characters. Through a different perspective, readers will be able to understand the side that was not told that even when readers read beyond the lines, those puzzles remain unanswered.
In life, there are events or circumstances that cannot be judged by reading between or beyond the lines. Some of them need to be explicitly told so we would understand it better and we would be able to make wiser decisions in the end. Sometimes, the things that we already know are not exactly the things that actually are. Only by letting other narrators tell it to us will put clarity in our blindsides.
I strongly recommend these books for people who desire something new, especially something new to think about. I’ve read several stories already, but these works are actually worthy to be read.