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Book Report- The Beginning of Everything
Transcript of Book Report- The Beginning of Everything
About the book:
By: Robyn Schneider
The Beginning of Everything
Presented by: Aliah Mae B. Abuel
Robyn Schneider is a 28 year old writer, actor, and online personality. Robyn grew up in a place similar to the town mentioned in the book, and is a graduate of Columbia University where she studied creative writing.
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Severed Heads, Broken Hearts (the original title of the novel) is a realistic fiction YA novel written by Robyn Schneider. The title was changed because the company, Barnes & Noble, declared martial law on her title and was forced to change it. The new title “The Beginning of Everything” came from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous line; “ I love her and that’s the beginning and the end of everything.”
- pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again
- a row or line of grass, grain, or other crop as it lies when mown or reaped.
- worn out or ruined because of age or neglect.
- used as an acknowledgment during a discussion of a good or clever point made at one's expense by another person.
- a building or container that is larger inside than it appears to be from outside.
- to talk with someone in a friendly way often in order to get some advantage for yourself.
– a German word which means added fat, weight caused by stress-induced overeating.
- a small tower on top of a larger tower or at the corner of a building or wall, typically of a castle.
- a street or passage closed at one end.
- is usually a man that some would say is "not a real man".
- to gather or collect (something) in a gradual way.
- cause (someone) to become unable to move or walk properly.
- the act of hesitating while introducing someone because you've forgotten their name
– a lack of compatibility or similarity between two or more facts.
– A face badly in need of a fist. Some people, we just suspect deep down that the only way to get through to them is by violence.
– a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village.
- the right to vote in political elections.
– widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality.
– a circular prison with cells arranged around a central well, from which prisoners could at all times be observed.
– a word for remembering small moments destined to be lost.
The Beginning of Everything
by Robyn Schneider is the story of seventeen-year-old Ezra Faulkner who believes we’re all afforded a single tragic encounter in our lives, after which everything that really matters takes place.
It’s a beautifully written story of goodbyes, new beginnings, and the struggle that is moving on from the familiar.
– The narrator, Ezra Faulkner, is the main character in this book. The story’s main focus is around him and his personal tragedies. He believes that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them at some point in their life. When his legs get shattered by a drunk driver, he loses everything. The book’s point of view is told through Ezra’s eyes and opinions.
– She’s the mysterious new girl that the whole school is raving about. She is very unpredictable and very strange. Cassidy is the girl that turns Ezra’s life, and the whole Eastwood High school around. She is also one of the characters that define Ezra’s emotional fate.
– Toby is a foil character to Ezra and Cassidy. He is an inspirational influence on Ezra when he is struggling with his personal issues. Even when Ezra is predictably ignoring him, he is still a consistently loyal friend. Toby is a slightly nerdy character who appreciates people who watch Dr. Who and can recite his quotes.
“I still think that everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a singular tragic encounter after which
everything that really matters will happen
“It was as though she was disguised as an ordinary girl and found the deception tremendously funny.”
“’So Austin,’ Toby asked, ‘do you beat your own high score every day?’ It sounded so dirty that we all cracked up.”
The main theme in The Beginning of Everything is facing reality. This book focuses on people’s tragedies and their fate. Ezra believes that fate is controlled by other’s actions and beliefs; everyone else is a domino effect off of each person’s tragedies.
The story revolves around Ezra’s theory that we all get one tragic encounter with the potential to change everything we know. Ezra’s one tragedy is a car accident at the beginning of the book where he’s the victim of a hit and run. Afterwards, he finds the life he was once content with to be not only implausible, but also unfulfilling. Multiple times he reflects on his life before the accident as ‘generic’ and suggests he was on the path towards becoming ‘eternally un-extraordinary.’ Post tragedy, Ezra slowly realizes that almost every relationship and so-called friendship in his life lacks substance. As he struggles to come to terms with his personal tragedy, the fear that he might be someone whose defining characteristic was lost forever at seventeen, rather than found, always seems to be at the back of his mind. At times, this leads him to gravitate back towards the familiar. One of the things Ezra’s character forces us to consider is how much more effort it takes to break out of our comfort zones, rather than just give in and settle.
Cassidy, Ezra’s love interest, offers an interesting variable to the story. As Ezra negotiates his identity, Cassidy is seemingly there every step of the way. She has quite a few thought provoking lines of her own on this subject, such as: “The smarter you are, the more tempting it is to just let people imagine you.” It’s tempting because it’s considerably easier. Discovering your identity and shedding others expectations and ideas of you is an uphill battle.
As Ezra comes into his own, he credits Cassidy for most of his progress. He only realizes it was primarily his by own doing when she spells it out for him, “You keep wanting to give me credit because you finally decided you weren’t content with squeezing yourself into the narrow corridor of everyone’s expectations, but you made that decision before we’d even met…” Most of us have a tendency to never quite give ourselves the credit we deserve when it comes to change. We chalk it up to concepts such as fate or credit other people in our lives as the source. But at the end of the day, whether we realize it or not, change comes from within. Ezra reflects on this critical concept at the end of the novel, “She (Cassidy) didn’t add the elements that allowed me to proceed down a different path. She lent a spark, perhaps, or tendered the flame, but the arson was mine.”
Sitting by paralyzed and allowing others to define you within the ‘narrow corridor’ of their expectations is just as much of a decision as going against the grain to find yourself and change people’s shallow perception of you. Although both Cassidy and Ezra recognize this, in the end only Ezra is willing to overcome it. He embraces his tragic encounter and the imperfections that make him who he is. Cassidy never quite escapes her personal tragedy and is unwilling to appear as anything less than perfect to the outside world. Ezra offers one of the book’s great lines when he reflects on his time with Cassidy as, “Lost moments with a lost girl who refused to be found.”
Symbols in the book:
The exploding fireworks symbolize an unforgettable moment in both Cassidy and Ezra’s lives. “Three fireworks burst in tandem: purple, green, gold. Well, I think it’s beautiful. A word for remembering small moments destined to be lost.” (Page 178)
The fireworks symbolize a binding connection to the relationships in the novel.
The Metal Knee is an important symbol in this book. (The Metal Knee is also a contributing element to the theme Facing Reality.) The metal knee symbolizes the part of Ezra that did not live on from his past life. His knee symbolizes the emotional pain in our lives when we can’t move on from our tragedies. “I thought about the metal on my knee, replacing this piece of me that was missing, that no longer worked.” (Page 265)
Quotes from the book: