Maybe there's a little bit of 'Stargirl' in each of us
Recently, I finished a book called "Stargirl" by Jerry Spinelli, published in 2000.
The book is about a girl, called Stargirl. She was as nonconformist as nonconformist could be. She wore whatever she wanted to, from kimonos to flapper dresses. She didn’t wear makeup, had no cell phone (but it was only 2000) and, most importantly, was completely selfless.
She sang people "Happy Birthday" on their birthdays while strumming her ukulele. She made her entire homeroom little trinkets for every holiday that came up. And she fell in love.
The boy she fell in love with was Leo. Leo was, all in all, a pretty normal guy. He got good grades, he ran the school TV production, he was cute, sarcastic and, well, you get the idea. Leo fell in love with her, too, but he was hesitant; most of the school had no idea what to make of this unusual girl, and he didn’t want to alienate them.
Eventually, of course, Stargirl ends up changing everything in Leo’s life. I’m not going to ruin the ending, but my point here wasn’t to talk about the book. I’m here to talk about what the book leaves behind after you close it.
That’s not really possible, is it? Is it really possible to put true emotion into words?
I ask because I found myself so speechless after turning the last page that I had to shout at myself to make sure I still had a voice. This girl, as a character in the book says, "is more us than we are."
In a school where everyone did what everyone else did and didn’t dare break the status quo, Stargirl was a breath of fresh air. She was human, in every sense of the word: passionate, free and loving. She didn’t wake up every morning and say, "What will I do to get ahead today?" or "What’s everyone else wearing today?" She woke up whispering, "My, what a lovely sunrise," or "Whose birthday is it today?"
The more I embraced her mindset, however, the more I realized something was missing. Her type of lifestyle wasn’t sustainable, for most of us. Most of us need a sense of team, a group of friends, a movie or a mall. It’s not that our society and way of life are bad, it’s just that, maybe, something’s missing in ours, too. I’ll let you figure out what.