„It wasn’t like the angels wanted to be painted as heroes, but the teachers wanted the kids to want to be angels, you see?“
Wow… this book caused me to think about so many things. I don’t even know where to start but I think we’ll just go with the writing style first because it’s very unique but also kind of perfect to convey this important story to the reader. We see everything from Jam’s perspective and this was done so well. I mean Jam is a black trans girl that doesn’t speak and uses sign language instead (I think this is called selective mutism) so the language she uses to describe things and feelings is very different to those of other people. I really liked this about the book and it gave me a lot of “A Monster Calls” vibes.
”That was something she’d taught Jam – that a lot of things were manageable as long as they were honest. You could see things clearly if they were honest; you could decide what to do next, because you knew exactly what you were dealing with.”
Just like in “A Monster Calls” we have a very serious topic that is hard to put into proper words. It’s a tough one to understand for kids and I really liked that the monster helped Jam and Redemption to approach the topic. I think in some way the message is easier to convey if you have the help of a monster to do it, because after all you expect monsters to know about monstrous things, right?! What I really liked about the book is how it shows that even in a seemingly perfect world there can still be monsters. And if you don’t call them out and allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security you give them the power to do whatever they want to without them ever facing the consequences. After all there are no monsters in Lucille, at least not as long as you overlook their dark deeds and neither confront yourself or them with the truth.
”It was no small thing to try to restructure a society, to find the pus boiling away under the scabs, to peel back the hardened flesh to let it out. Jam had heard stories of how horrifying it had been to see the truth of how many monsters there were in Lucille – the public ones, the private ones, the chameleons, the freestyle solitary ones, the charismatic smiling ones.”
So the monsters in Lucille were seemingly normal people that did horrible things and the angels were also just normal people that rooted out those monsters. Alone this concept was already very intriguing because the so called “monsters” were actually human beings and didn’t look any different than everyone else. I felt really sorry for Jam and Redemption because they were the only ones that saw the monster for what it was and because the adults refused to believe in monsters this made it even harder for them to reveal the truth. They were both hurting so much and I wish I could have taken that pain away from them.
”She didn’t like keeping a secret from Redemption, but it wasn’t time to tell him about Pet, not yet. Not that telling would even work – you had to see Pet to accept that it was real in this world; the telling would never be enough. Words are never enough for a lot of things.”
I could understand why Jam felt so conflicted about telling Redemption because telling him would have made it real and who wants things like that to be real? But then again if no one found out about the truth others might have gotten hurt as well so yes it was horrible and exceptionally painful to reveal the monster, but it was necessary as well. To close your eyes to reality never helped anyone and it’s exactly this kind of lesson our two MCs had to learn. >_<
“You want many things, you are full of want, carved out of it, made from it, yes. But the truth does not care about what you want; the truth is what it is. It is not moved by want, it is not a blade of grass to be bent by the wind of your hopes and desires.”
Serious topics aside, another thing I really loved about the book was the diversity and the amazing representation. I mean everything in here was so natural and casual. When Bitter and Aloe found out that Jam was a girl and not a boy, they just took it in stride and made sure that she got all the help she needed in order to transition into a girl. And this was super wholesome and extremely amazing to read about! I wish every parent of a trans kid would react like that. Plus can we acknowledge the awesome and effortless polyamorous relationship between Redemptions parents?
„His mother, Malachite, was punching down bread dough in a large ceramic bowl, the sleeves of her linen shirt rolled up to her elbows, her mouth open in a laugh and her eyes crinkled. His father, Beloved, was sitting on a stool across from her, sketching her face while the recipient of her smile, Redemption’s third parent, Whisper, juggled three oranges and a grapefruit, their eyes focused on the fruit, tongue sticking out in concentration.“
Not to mention the fact that Whisper, the third parent, went with they/them pronouns and it was the most natural thing ever! I loved that so much! <333 Plus Whisper was continuously non-binary. We never got any hint about their original gender and that was so damn wholesome. I mean there are so many books in which the original gender (or the body parts) of non-binary characters are revealed but I really loved the fact that it wasn’t done in here. Whisper was non-binary and that was it! Just amazing! ❤
”Everyone, everything deserved some time to be. To figure out what they were. Even a painting.“
All told I really enjoyed “Pet” and I was totally absorbed by the story. I constantly wanted to know how it would continue and this even though I knew the ending would hurt. (And it DID hurt, boy did it hurt…) A very important book that didn’t only tackle serious topics, but also confronts the reader and forces her/him/them to make the right choice even though it is difficult. Highly recommended if you already read “A Monster Calls” and survived the heartbreak.