Time to start the read along for JUST ONE DAY! Well, continue it for those of you who were actually on time! My biggest apologies for being late on this one. Life has just been SO incredibly busy that I had to finish a couple current reads before picking up JUST ONE DAY for the read along. All is well now though and I’m hopping in on week TWO of the JUST ONE DAY read along!
Jenna Does Books is our lovely host for this leg of the Gayle Forman Read Along! She’s been a fantastic host for us so far with some really great questions! Better late than never, here are my answers for weeks one and two!
September 18th (Chapters 1-9): Questions week 1
September 25th (Chapters 10-19): Answers week 1, questions week 2
October 2nd (Chapters 20-29): Answers week 2, questions week 3
October 9th (Chapters 30-39): Answers week 3, questions week 4
October 16th: Answers week 4, Recap, Winner Announcement
QUESTIONS: WEEK 1
- At the start of Just One Year, Allyson, a girl just out of high school, attempts to “reinvent” herself by cutting off her long, dark hair. Have you ever “reinvented” yourself, either physically or as a break in your usual routine? Why?
I actually haven’t done much reinventing… Really for two totally opposing reasons (seriously. I’m nuts) — One is because I’m not gusty enough. I’ve felt a lot like Allyson many times where I want to do what’s right — or more so, I want to do what pleases other people. I haven’t “reinvented” myself or done much of anything due to the fact that I’m afraid how people might perceive me. The other reason — and totally opposite — is that I’m mostly happy with the way I am! Well, now, that is. I have gone through a lot of personal “transformations”, if you will, but most of them have been very gradual and very beneath the surface. I haven’t really had to reinvent much because it’s not until after I’ve already changed that I notice how different I used to be.
- When we first meet Allyson, she is an all-American “good girl” who has just undergone a European Tour. But other than her hair, she is no different than she was in high school. On the other hand, Melanie has managed to reinvent herself, turning from a “good girl” to a party-all-night flirt. What did you think of the ease with which Melanie reinvents herself?
I actually got the impression that Melanie was always more outgoing than Allyson and maybe it’s because we as readers have already met her after her transformation, but even as a re-read, I still didn’t realize that she was a “good girl” before. I guess that makes sense, but since Allyson was so much more of a good girl, I just never even gave another thought to Melanie’s former persona! In my opinion, I think Melanie was probably already leaning towards letting her hair down. It probably wouldn’t have been such a quick transition otherwise!
- After watching Twelfth Night at the waterfront, Allyson finds herself at a morose standstill. The play is over, but Allyson continues to clap and clap, hoping to make the moment last, so lost was she in the play. She hesitates to return to her “normal” life, associating the play (and also movies) with a “greater” reality. Have you ever felt the same, that a movie, play or book seemed more “real” than your own life?
Ummmm, all of the Gayle Forman books? Haha. WHERE SHE WENT and JUST ONE DAY were pretty emotional experiences for me as well as Sarah Ockler’s THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS. I had a SERIOUS book hangover with that one, so much so that I was reliving it for at least a good day or two. As far as movies go…. Okay, honestly — The Notebook haha. It’s such an obvious response and typical girl, but it’s so true. It was a movie I really connected with because until I met Shane, that’s how all of my relationships went — Something I thought was SO REAL and then it ended suddenly and then… I was left hanging in the open waiting for something to somehow pick up again. Of course, that’s not the EXACT same story as The Notebook, but it has the same general feeling of an abrupt ending to a relationship that may or may not ever pick up again. Much like the feelings of Adam in WHERE SHE WENT and Allyson in JUST ONE DAY! (Gayle just GETS ME.)
- When Allyson decides to go with Willem to Paris, Melanie is not happy. It seemed as though, even though Melanie was trying to encourage Allyson to change, when Allyson actually did something adventurous, Melanie still wasn’t happy. Do you think maybe Melanie liked having a friend who was more serious so she could be the exciting one?
Hmmm, I actually think that could be for many reasons. I think Melanie liked being the spontaneous one and the one who had the big adventures, yes. But I also think it’s that it wasn’t Melanie dropping Allyson for better plans — it was Allyson dropping Melanie and their plans. I’m sure although Melanie is excited for Allyson to have a big adventure, that means that she is now inconvenienced and she has to alter HER plans for someone else for once instead of people hovering around her. I also think that she’s genuinely worried for Allyson. It’s one thing to go out to the bars with the Teen Tours! kids. It’s another to send your best friend off with a stranger to a foreign country with no way to communicate with her.
- At this point in the book, who do you find yourself more similar to? Allyson or Melanie? Why?
I actually think I was more similar Melanie as a high schooler/college student and more like Allyson as an adult. Seems like it should be the opposite, right? But I feel like I was much more outgoing and social when I was younger. Even as an adult, I’m STILL worried about keeping the status quo with my parents and keeping my parents happy… I am a lot different than I was as a teenager and not in the sense that I’ve made backwards progress since we see Allyson’s change from worrier to making her own decisions). I think that as an adult, I’m more careful with how I interact with people. I try to think of people more often and that makes me more careful. I much more of a homebody than I used to be. I am now like Allyson was then — I would have been the person to stay in the hotel room while everyone else went out drinking. Back in college, of course, I was the Melanie, but I think I’m more of a pre-Paris Allyson now.
- Allyson seems to experience more with Willem over the span of just one day in Paris than she did during her entire European tour throughout the summer. What do you think it is about Willem (or this one day) that brings out the adventurous side of Allyson?
Well, for one. It’s an unguided, unscheduled tour. Allyson gets to see the raw Paris, the real Paris and not just some canned tour that the program put together to cram education and information into teenagers’ heads. Secondly… HI. Willem is a cute boy. A FOREIGN cute boy. He’s a stranger. He’s exciting. He’s unpredictable and whether Allyson realizes it or not is purely changing her life just by talking to her and being around her. She’s never known someone like him before. Thirdly: Willem is adventurous and he doesn’t keep a schedule and he’s a free spirit. Just being around that kind of nature is bound to draw out the adventurous side in Allyson too.
QUESTIONS: WEEK 2
- Time seems to be a major topic in Just One Day, especially after we learn about the origin of Allyson’s watch, which was given to her by her parents. What do you think is the significance of Allyson’s watch? Does is represent who Allyson is as a person at this point in the story?
The presence of Allyson’s watch seems to represent the “old Allyson” — the one that revolved around time and schedules and things that made other people happy, but not her. When Willem has her watch, she’s free of time, so to speak. She’s free of obligations. I also like that when she doesn’t have her watch, her birthmark is exposed. It’s almost like a subtle symbol of the Allyson that doesn’t feel judged and is free to be herself instead of covering it up!
- Do you think Allyson reacted too quickly when she woke up and Willem wasn’t there?
Didn’t she try to wait a bit? Darn, I even re-read and I don’t remember haha. It’s so hard to say what I would do if I were in Allyson’s position. Would I have waited hours for him to come back? Would I have immediately panicked and went looking for him? It’s hard because Allyson always had that feeling that this whole trip was a joke, that he was using her or that he was just playing her, so I can see why she would leave quickly. She was quick to jump to conclusions the whole trip so it kind of makes sense!
- How would you have reacted if you woke up in a foreign country to find the person who brought you there suddenly gone?
Oops, looks like I answered this one too soon! To be honest, I probably would have panicked. It probably would have been the kind of panic where I worry and cry all day until it’s hours later and I realize he’s not coming back. Then again… Stuck in a loft where you know you don’t belong and absolutely nothing to do all day, I might try to leave and wait on the street somewhere. It’s hard to say! I know I would be majorly panicking though!
- Everyone seems to know what they want for Allyson. Do you see any similarity in the way Allyson handles conflict with her parents and with Melanie?
I think Allyson is just avoiding everything. It almost seems like she doesn’t know how to handle going back to her old life and she knows she’s unhappy but doesn’t know how to get back out of this slump without being in Europe or just AWAY. She probably needs more time to go discover herself than just one day (see what I did there?) and honestly… She probably COULD do that in college… But it’s not the same monumental change that she maybe needs to push herself that far.
- How do you feel about the direction Allyson’s life is going during her first few months in college? Do you find yourself sympathizing with her, or do you want to shake her in order to help her wake up?
A little bit of both, actually. Sometimes I felt like she needs to snap out of it! But then again…. I can totally understand. She didn’t just lose Willem… She lost a sense of freedom, a sense of hope. And she was left totally in the dark as to why. It doesn’t seem traumatic, but it really was to Allyson.