Saturday, April 16, 2011

Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Leaving Paradise is told from the varying points of view of the two main characters, Caleb and Maggie. Both live in a town called Paradise and both have a shared past that keeps them a part but that is also what brings them close together. Caleb is returning to Paradise from prison where he went after being charged for being behind the wheel of the car that struck Maggie and damaged both her legs. The story starts with him finding out he is to be released. The closing line is, "Tomorow I'm going home" (Elkeles 8). Maggie used to be an athlete and the top of her school. She had one secret: that she was in love with her neighbor and best friend's brother, Caleb. After the accident she became an outcast. She could no longer play tennis because she had a horrible limp. She went to physical therapy but would never be able to move as she used to. When Caleb returns, he comes back to a dysfunctional family. His mother is a drug addict, his father is in denial and his sister now dresses completely in black and tries to avoid everyone. He goes back to school and is automatically accepted back into his old group. Appearance wise, everything seemed perfect, but Caleb did not want everything to go back to normal. It takes an old neighbor who receives help from both Maggie and Caleb, an entire school who cannot see either of them as who they truly are, and a life of secrets, for Maggie to finally get what she used to want. She thought she hated Caleb, but when she realized he was the only person as damaged as her, they began to secretly see each other. In the end, both are faced with major decisions. Caleb could no longer watch his family falling apart. The truth about the accident came to life. Also, they discovered that teenage love could not in fact conquer all. In the end they had to choose between each other and their families. One of them faces the prospect of running away. 1.) If you were injured in an accident like Maggie, would you ever be able to forgive the person who took away your ability to walk normally? 2.) Caleb's life is all about appearances. If you were in his situation, would you be able to handle all the pressure, or would you be tempted to rebel as he tries to do?

7 comments:

Sydney S. 1-2 said...

1. At first I would be depressed and angry. However, I would forgive the person because chances are, they would be feeling very guilty for hurting me. Forgiving them might help them feel less bad about themselves and may help them to move past the accident.

2. I cannot know for sure because I've never been in that situation, but I would probably try to rebel a little like Caleb tries to do. If my family was like his I would not be able to stand it. I don't really know what I would do.

Sydney S. 1-2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandon M. 1-2 said...

1. I'm afraid that I would have to forgive the person who took my ability to walk away. Their guilt would probably be a greater pain than useless legs and I would feel guilty letting them feel guilty.

2. I think anyone would rebel with their family falling apart like that. Your family is like your foundation, and if the foundation collapses, the building crashes to the ground (rebelling in this case).

Heather B. 1-2 said...

I agree with Sydney and Brandon that I would rebel at some point if my family was falling a part.

Heather B. 1-2 said...

I agree with Sydney that at first I would be angry and depressed. I guess I might forgive, but it would be difficult.

jessica b 1/2 said...

1. I agree with everyone in the fact that at first it would be hard to forgive the person but with time one would come to terms with their disabilty and be able to forgive the person.

2.I also agree with the others, that with all these things going wrong in his life, I too would probably be tempted to rebel some.

Renae G. 1-2 said...

1.I don't know if I would ever be able to forgive. I think it would be hard but eventually I would learn to forgive but not forget.