Tropes and archetypes make reading really fun for me. Okay.. back it up a little bit. I majored in English so picking apart and analyzing different pieces of literature is really a fun time for me. I’m definitely not against tropes and archetypes – if they’re done correctly.
The Chosen One is a trope present in almost every piece of young adult fantasy I’ve encountered thus far (also hello Harry Potter! Also, this was the main premise of my senior thesis)
The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a book by Patrick Ness about the regular people – the Not-Chosen One’s in fantasy.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
What if you aren’t the Chosen One?
The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions…
I am all about books that don’t give chapters title. I prefer “Chapter One” because honestly, I don’t have time or patience to read chapter titles. Seriously.. I can probably name ONE chapter title from Harry Potter. Also, the only chapter I remember from the 15 Cassandra Clare books I’ve read is Chapter 1: Pandemonium (from City of Bones).
The thing about this book is the chapters have little sentence long stories about the Indie kids that I. Lived. For. If more books had headers like this one, I’d definitely consider reading the chapter headings. It was my favorite part of this book.
Anxiety and OCD
It’s not every day that I encounter books that showcase anxiety. Mikey’s anxiety is not like my own. Like, I related to him because I also feel like I’m the least wanted person in a group, but at the same time I didn’t because my anxiety doesn’t present itself like Mikey’s. While his is a loop of compulsive behaviors, mine is more of a physical thing. I shake, I pick my skin (face and arms), and I pull on my own hair. I don’t get caught in loops of compulsion, but I do often get caught in loops of negative thinking.
The point is, I thought Mikey’s anxiety and OCD were really well thought out. I like that Ness walks us through how he breaks out of the cycles and I enjoyed the interaction between Mikey and Jared and Mikey and his therapist over his issues.
I’m not an expert, but I thought this was handled well. I enjoyed being able to relate to a character on a mental well-being level. It was different than my normal “I relate” mentality.
Honestly, the characters in this were all really well thought out. Ness wrote his non-indie kid characters so well! Everyone was relatable – even Jared with his one third god self. I really enjoyed reading a book focused around the Muggles of fantasy – much more than I thought I would.
Meredith was probably the best developed. For some reason, I think Ness hit the nail on the head when it comes to an overachieving 12 year old girl. She wasn’t annoying; she was perfectly written.
Also, I enjoyed that we go nearly a whole book referring to Mel’s doctor boyfriend as Call Me Steve. It’s oddly hilarious.
Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is really hard to do. Patrick Ness did a really great job with this book. Although I don’t think this should have been the first Ness book I picked up, I did enjoy his writing style and the humor found within this book.
Having read multiple other review on Ness’ work, I would tend to agree – this wasn’t the best piece of literature I’ve ever encountered, but it didn’t turn me off from reading Ness in the future. I guess what I’m getting at is I wish I would have read something else by the author first, but I don’t regret reading this book.
I found this piece to be oddly compelling and oftentimes hilarious. I would recommend to other readers who are interested in a satirical writing on The Chosen One as a trope or archetype.
What’s your favorite Patrick Ness book? I’m looking to add more of his work to my mountainous TBR.