Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Paige has just moved to New York from Virginia. She's shy and quiet, and lives too much in her own head.  Paige wants to be an artist, but doesn't consider herself one.  She knows if she wants to be an artist, she has to do something about it, so she buys herself a sketchbook and follows her grandma's rules of how to be an artist.  As she begins to draw, she begins to understand herself better and starts to become the Paige she knows she really is.  

I liked this a lot, although it reminded me some of Plain Janes.  In both, a group of friends sneaks around town art bombing local sites to bring happiness and whimsy to the people.  In both cases, Paige and Jane find themselves through these activities.

What I really liked about Page by Paige is that Paige actively tries to work on things she knows she's not good at, and that was really cool.  She makes of list of things she wants to work on, like asking for help when she needs it, opening up to people, standing up for herself, and being less self-absorbed, and then she actually makes an effort to change those things.  And she does!  It isn't easy for her to do, but she works on it because she thinks it's important.

Drawing in her sketchbook helps Paige a lot.  She's able to work out her confusion and frustration, and works up to showing her sketchbook to people.  First her friends, and then finally her parents.  Since Paige's sketchbook is so personal, sharing it is like sharing part of herself.  It takes a lot of courage for her to final show it to her mom, who Paige doesn't get along with her well.  As Paige comes into herself more, her parents feel farther away from her.  Looking at her sketchbook helps them to better understand where Paige is.

In summary, this was a really nice "quiet girl coming in to her own" story.  Some sexual humor, so I'd recommend for high school.

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