Authors Note: I wrote this because I know everyone can relate to it. No one is perfect, and everyone goes through hard times with friends and family. This book is relatable, and I feel it has a true life lesson that should be learned by everyone.
Imagine feeling your heart sink, your hopes crash, as the question, the one you’ve been dreading, is out there. You open your mouth to talk but no words come, only the words “Where is your mother?” ringing in your ears. Forcing the words out, you sigh in defeat, as you answer truthfully, “I don’t know.” Then it’s all over, everything’s a blur, and as you’re being taken away, you’re only wondering one thing, “Now what?” Where do you go when no one wants you? In Sarah Dessen’s Lock and Key, Ruby Cooper has seen it all, as she struggles through life, trying to define the true meaning of “family,” which makes readers think twice about this whole concept.
If you were assigned the topic of “family” for a school project how would you define it? For everyone it’d be different, and this book really makes you think long and hard about the real meaning. You can’t take family for granted, and that’s what it’s all about. Answering this, as if I hadn’t read this book, I’d say family is the one group of people in your life you can’t choose, the ones you’re stuck with. If you mess up, families will be hurt, true, and yet they’ll love you anyway. They're the kind of people that’ll take you in, and help you through life even if you don’t know it. Say you’re like me, and got some pretty annoying siblings in your life. You guys may fight and tease each other, but when it comes to big things in your life, you will always find them right beside you, sticking up for you. Honesty, beneath the fights, arguments, and pranks you have created a bond so deep, it’s inseparable. It may feel like they’re just there to make life harder, but imagine life without them or anyone in your family for that matter. Doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
As I am defining my family, I’m trying to put myself in Ruby’s shoes, with her family practically the complete opposite of mine. While I’m eventually going to be the one leaving my family, Ruby’s dad left when she was five. Plus, her messed-up mom abandoned her before Ruby could leave her herself. Although, it’ll be hard for my family when I leave, they’re going to let me go because they know I’ve got a neducation to finish, a job to get, and a entire life in front of me. Ruby’s mom hurt her and her sister, was drunk a lot, and was a horrible mother. Yet Ruby clung to her because it was all she had now that her sister left, and had go on with her live leaving Ruby to pick up the pieces. My mom could get irritated with me, sure, but she’d never hurt me, or leave me. When Ruby’s mom is gone, Ruby lives on her own, and finally once her mom's busted for adandoning her in an unacceptable home , she’s shipped off to her sister she hasn’t seen in years. I’m still in contact with all of my family, and even though some live out of state, we still get together every summer. So, while family is coming together Ruby's family is breaking apart.
A different family equals a different definition, so is anybody else wondering just how Ruby defines family? Ruby gave this project a lot of thought, and interviewed her friends and sister to get their thoughts. “Comfort, maybe? History? The beginning of life?” Reggie, her friend from work answers. Harriet, her boss, answered “For me, family means the silent treatment. At any given moment, someone is always not speaking to someone else.” Cora, Ruby's older sister replies thoughtfully "Family isn’t something that’s supposed to be static or set. People marry in, divorce out. They’re born, they die. It’s always evolving, turning into something else,” As Ruby is sitting alone in her room, studying calculus, she’s thinking “What is family?” “Family is the kind of people who claimed you, in good, bad, in parts or in whole. They were the ones who showed up, stayed in there regardless. It wasn’t just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something bigger, wider. We had many families over time, families of origin, the families we created, as well as the groups you moved through while all of this was happening: friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers. None of them were perfect, and we shouldn’t expect them to be.” (Pg 400) Once reading this remarkable definition, my defintion immediatly changed because suddenly I had a entirely new perspective.
In one of the greatest books written on family relationships, Ruby Cooper struggles to define “family,” all in Sarah Dessen's Lock and Key. Each word was greatly considered, each detail flawless, every word meaningful as you go through page by page. A heartfelt book by a New York bestselling author where the characters are so relatable, it’s sure to get to all the teen girls out there. If you’re struggling through a hard time, or you’re just looking for a good book to curl up by the fire with, Lock and Key is the way to go.