Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a book by A.S. King about a pizza-delivering high-school senior named Vera whose best friend Charlie is dead.
The story jumps around in time covering the nine months after he died along with their lives up till then. We learn about how they became friends and how their friendship fell apart, and about saying something when something is wrong. The whole idea of ignoring things and not getting involved to maintain a peaceful zen life gets a pretty good criticism in this book.
What I loved about the book was the shifting in time and perspective. We all know right from the beginning that Charlie dies, but we don’t exactly know how. It’s a good hook and as we learn more about them we want to know how it came to be this way. King did something similar in The Dust of 100 Dogs, where the main character dies in the prologue and the rest of the book is about getting us back to that point. The book is mostly told from Vera’s perspective but there are bits tossed in from her dad’s point of view (he’s a recovered alcoholic whose wife left and changed the spelling of her name so he writes about her as
CindySindy, which is kind of heartbreaking), and from the dead boy’s point of view, and from the big pagoda monument that sits on the hill above their town. It’s really well done.
The villains are appropriately high-school insane. I’m very glad I never encountered such a vindictive horrible liar as Jenny Flick, but I completely believe she exists (maybe she got a bit moustache-twirly at the very end, but I wouldn’t put her actions past her).
So yes, a very good YA book.
Yesterday there was a huge (huge) pile of geeks using some of our rooms for a Silverlight vs Flash throwdown (organizer’s words). They had like a million pizzas to bring in. We had to open the emergency exit to the skywalk for them so the forklift could get through. The downside for the rest of the library was that everyone could smell the pizza. More than a few patrons went mad with the aroma. Of course they were patrons who rarely eat anyway, so twas to be expected. The saddest part of the evening was when all the geeks were leaving and so many of them were carrying pizza boxes with them. I’d harboured a smidge of hope that even a couple of hundred geeks couldn’t eat a million pizzas in just under three hours, and that surely there would be some leftovers for us hardworking staff who unlocked their doors and let them steal our mac adapters. But no. All the pizzas marched out the door. A coworker made a comment about how sometimes it was like we’d never been fed, how badly we wanted the leftovers of fragrantly delicious things. Well I hadn’t been fed yet that day. Their organizer gave us a leftover sixpack of diet coke. I took one home and saved it till tonight. It still tastes like ashes in my mouth, despite being about two-thirds whisky.
Today no one had food. Not even three weeks past due chocolate chip-pecan cookies like we sometimes get. Those come from a patron and no one never exactly knows why or wherefrom.
Tonight I debated the significance of using “no problem” as opposed to “your welcome” with a couple of pages on my way to drop off the cash. One of the pages was the not entirely sharp one I know I’ve mentioned and the other was a bright 19-year-old who was very nice about trying to include him in conversation, asking about least favourite words. She said she hated the word “moist” which is a fairly usual view, the internet tells me. He doesn’t like the word “were.” I felt bad pressing on that in the elevator with my: “You mean you don’t like the idea that things existed in the past, in groups? As individuals they’d be okay? Or is it the past you have issue with?” Of course that went over his head, and was probably just putting me in some sort of jerkass dick display. He followed up with “And what does ‘at’ mean anyway?” I managed to refrain from snideness.