Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Power of Narrative: A Final look at the Sisterhood Series

Walter Fisher once said that, "humans are essentially storytellers." We have the ability to share our lives with others, whether it is words written on a page or us vocally sharing them. Our lives are full of narratives strung together like a pearl necklace. We alter and change our lives with narratives. We find our beliefs and values in narratives.

"Humans are essentially storytellers."

Oh, how absolutely right he is.

Now before people think that I am writing about a  huge, philosophical moment in life, I will reveal that this is not what is happening. Rather, I just finally completed reading the final book in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and therefore, must write my thoughts on my last experience with series I have cherished.

Warning: As a veracious reader and often self-ruiner of finding out what happened in books, I want to warn you that a vague spoiler is in here. So, if you have any intention of reading this book and spoilers bother you, I wouldn't continue. If that doesn't matter, keep on reading. 

I must speak unashamed and with a full awareness that some may find me crazy at how seriously I take my love of books . Therefore, before I speak of this momentous occasion in my reading career, I should probably explain to you just why I love books so much, why I hold them in my heart with a deep, enduring love.

It was long ago, yet not so long ago that my eight grade teacher stood over me and handed me a Nicholas Sparks book. It had been a couple months after I had transfer schools, a couple months after I had given up making friends and probably a couple months after I had given up trying to fit in.

"Read this," she said.

And I did.

It wasn't the first time I read a book, but it was a moment of awakening for me. A moment where I realized that they was a place that wasn't scary and unfamiliar, that bestowed upon me the best friends I could ever meet and that welcomed me in with love. I found that love between a hardcover, between a paperback, over a million pages of words. I found a home for myself. Years later, I found the most incredible part on my life in a book. My faith.

That is why I love books. And that is why when I began the last Sisterhood book, I believed that it was one of the saddest days of my life because just like Carmen, Lena, and Bridget, I felt as though I was suffering the loss of my life-long September friend.  But by the end of the novel I was so incredibly uplifted by the fullness and beauty that Ann Brashares brought to her series. As I sit and mull over the final novel in retrospect, I believe that she did the most brave act in her work: she made her story real. So real, my family caught me several times, sobbing like my life was over.

But, its just a story.

That's where I believe that Walter Fisher and the fictional writer meet. Here, at the crossroads of the innate need to share stories and our ability to recreate reality on the pages of a book magic happens. And its when stories that move us so much, to the point of tears or utter joy, that we know that something special has been caught. It's the beautiful transformations of  human experience becoming inspired words, and they have  the power to connect us in ways we never knew possible.

This story of four girls and a pair of pants is important to me because these girls were my friends in high school. I hung out with them at lunch, in the hallways at break, during my study halls, and let them hunker down with me in the armchair in my room. They were always by my side. They kept me company for so many years, and I loved them dearly for that.

So all of this culminates in me telling you to read the Sisterhood series. Let these girls sweep you up into their lives. They are ready to tell you the biggest of stories and you share their hearts with you. You won't regret it.

I certainly didn't.

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