Roundtable: A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian
Current Mood: silly
Current Song: Do You Believe by The Cardigans
After I read A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian, I passed the book to Alexia. Shortly thereafter, it made its way to Angela. Judging from their initial reactions to and subsequent conversations about the story, I think it's safe to say they loved it as much as I did. In fact, we just kept talking about it. A week after they'd read it. A month after. And so on.
Now that the book is officially out in stores, I asked if they'd care to create a collaborative post about it and they said sure, like Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. (Well, not exactly. They didn't say it with Audrey's accent. Only I did.)
Welcome to our roundtable. Well, we're sitting at a desk, talking and typing, so it's really more of a line. Well, Alexia calls it a point graph, and I call it my desk, but you'd never know that since she's the one sitting in the chair. The point is we're all talking about the book at once together here. Via email, blogs, and in-person conversations, we've pieced together one comfy, crazy ALFA quilt.
Because we love the book so much, we didn't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't read it yet. Our goal is to encourage you to go read the book and to share our randomness, so you'll see that we employed fairly basic questions and steered clear from spoilers. However, if you leave a comment or question below, one, two, or all three of us will be more than happy to respond.
Little Willow: I'm trying to think of a clever opening, but let's just be direct: ALFA rocks. I'm so glad that you two read it.
Alexia: Who was your favorite character? For me, it was all about Maria. C'mon. I loved how on the outside, she seemed to be a regular party girl that was kind of cold, but you eventually got to see that she really was a good friend. Yay!
Little Willow: I liked Ruby, the leading lady. She felt REAL.
Alexia: I agree that she was real, but for some reason I didn't connect with her. I'm not really sure why. I think that her emotions were very real, but because our lives are drastically different I had never experienced some of the emotions that Ruby went through. Nonetheless I thought she was a perfect main character for this book.
Angela: I liked them all. I liked Katherine because she seemed like this tough girl, but you got to see her vulnerability. When her friends said that they would go to her basketball game, she lit up. I liked that you could "see" that.
Little Willow: My favorite supporting character was definitely Charlie.
Alexia: Of course, we have Charlie.
Little Willow: (said with appreciation, said rather loudly) Charlie!
(Alexia points out that there's a happy dance too. Little Willow smiles. Angela breaks into a song about Charlie the unicorn, who is not Charlie from this book, but we're having some good times here.)
Angela: He's such a cutie. A big sweetheart. I just want to give him a big hug.
Alexia: My only qualm is that he seems too mature for his age, but it's partially explained by his situation and his past, which made me happy.
Little Willow: I dug Charlie. And the buttons.
Angela: Charlie, Charlie, buttons!
Alexia: None of my high school friends would act like Charlie. But hey, he's nice to dream about. He definitely makes my top 50 guys that should exist but don't. I'm seriously thinking of making that list.
Angela: I enjoyed that Charlie was an artsy who did all of these crafty little things. I love when they go down the hill and take a picture of the giant fishtail, then trace the half of a heart.
Alexia: My utmost favorite moment is when they're sitting on the grass at the college and just talking. I thought it was great and very realistic.
Little Willow: I liked that scene as well. I wanted the "I Don't Go Here" button. I liked pretty much any and every scene involving buttons, badges, photos, or scarves - all these little things that mattered to the characters throughout the entire story.
Alexia: Did Ruby ever find her scarf from Beth?
Little Willow: (looking at the people reading this) If they want to know, they will just have to read the book!
Alexia: I also liked when Ruby was sitting in Maria's car and Charlie walks up to her and her friends start flipping out. That is exactly what we do. I found it so cute. Another favorite scene: When Charlie first walks into the costume party! I remember Ruby thinking, "A Girl Scout cookie box. The perfect compliment to a Girl Scout outfit." ADORABLE.
Angela: I love that he was a cookie box! I love it! I also love that Ruby's Girl Scout patches are her battle wounds, and that she proudly displays them. If Beth doesn't like that, then too bad. Ruby shows her story on her sash. I was a Girl Scout for about two weeks.
Little Willow: I envy Ruby her camera. I've always loved the look of Polaroids, but I've never owned the actual camera. They stopped making the cameras, and now they are ceasing production of the film as well. Of course, just as I finally prepare to get something, it's gone. I am sad.
Alexia: We have a Polaroid camera! Honestly, that thing is the best. I never tire of it. I'm sad that they stopped making them.
Alexia: This book taught me to look at things from somebody else's perspective and not to immediately jump to conclusions about other people. I think that Ruby learned a lot when the truth came out about her parents' split. It was a valuable lesson, and I learned it with her.
Angela: People always say, if you can't trust your family, then you can trust your friends, or if you can't trust your friends, then you can trust your family, but it's sad that Ruby feels as though she can't trust either group of people. Maybe when she was little, it wasn't the best time to tell her what really happened with her parents, but she had the right to know. It brings up the question: Who has the right to hide something that major from someone else? It can be argued for both ways. When you're hiding something like that for that long, when can finally tell them?
Little Willow: Trust and forgiveness are tricky little beasts, especially if secrets are involved. They are handled with integrity and respect here.
Angela: With her friends, with Beth, when you have a fight that big with someone who you are close to, you can be friends again, but you have to work through it.
Little Willow: I don't want to wrap this up. I want to keep talking about the book and keep giving Siobhan Vivian kudos for creating such realistic characters.
We will stop for now, though, ONLY because Angela has to go study for her Biology test and Alexia for her Physics test. If you want to discuss this book more in-depth with us, please feel free to leave a comment or question below!
Postscript, side note, pssst: We're thinking of doing a roundtable discussion about John Green's Looking for Alaska next. All three of us have read it and loved it.
Read Little Willow's review of A Little Friendly Advice.
Read Little Willow's review of The List by Siobhan Vivian.
Read Little Willow's interview with Siobhan Vivian.
Read Angela's ALFA review.
Angela loves the ALFA pins. (As do we all.)
From 2007: Kiba Rika, Little Willow, and Colleen discuss Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn.
Check out other roundtable discussions posted at Bildungsroman.