Title: No and Me
Author: Delphine de Vigan
Pub. Date: August 3, 2010
"We can send supersonic planes and rockets into space, and identify a criminal from a hair or a tiny flake of skin, and grow a tomato we can keep in the fridge for three weeks without getting a wrinkle, and store millions of pieces of information on a tiny chip. Yet we're capable of letting people die on the streets."
No and Me reminds me a bit of Friday Brown; both portray the harsh realities of homelessness, of not belonging. But one, more than the other, is more powerful in its message, and that is No and Me.
This is how you write a coming of age novel.
This is how you portray a teen’s thoughts and insecurities.
This is how you handle the issue of having no home.
Lou, the main character, is an exceptionally intelligent girl. She looks at things in her own unique way, she’s a bit shy, and she is uncannily perceptive.
No, the girl with no home and a brutal past, is the polar opposite of Lou. She’s impatient, outspoken, intense, emotional; but in the end, lovable.
The friendship that blossomed between them was explored beautifully.
This isn’t a happy novel, I must add. There’s quite a saddening ending, and the issue itself gives the book an almost dark feel.
”I let No go, carrying her plastic bag. She turns the corner. Nothing’s shining around her. Everything"s gray and dark.”
The prose is imperfect, but perfect for this novel. It does so much to characterize the character of Lou, to paint her personality and convey her thoughts.
No and Me has its weak moments in terms of pacing and such, but overall delves brilliantly into the topic without being overly preachy or trying too hard to be emotional. Essentially, it just shows things the way they are.
I’d recommend this for fans of Friday Brown and for those who are looking for a more serious contemporary read.