“To The Books That Made Us”, Cate S. Casalme’s series on pieces of literature that impressed themselves upon you during your life, continues with an interview with Audrey Sims on her recollection of Will
There are moments in our lives, where even the most dubious cynic must admit, that can feel rather serendipitous. They are the moments that often feel innocuous or troublesome but end up becoming a turning point in our lives — a pivotal role in the climax of our story. It can be anything from the spontaneous decision to go to a party where you ended up meeting your best friend, or a reluctant decision to take that class that ended up convincing you to pursue a certain career.
And sometimes, that innocuous thing could be a book. As a kid, there comes a point where books go from being lines on a paper that entertain and amuse us, to becoming words that really truly resonate within ourselves. Audrey Sims was 13 when she first read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. At the time, Audrey was an avid John Green reader, and his collaborative book with David Levithan came into her life at exactly the right time. Not only was she dealing with the awkwardness that comes with entering the teenage years, but with the passing of her brother as well. For her, the book was a solace from the reality of her world.
Like all young adult, coming of age novels, it is hard to summarise Will Grayson, Will Grayson. As you may have guessed, the novel centres around Will Grayson and Will Grayson- two boys from different sides of Chicago, with one voice being written solely by one author. Leading two very different lives, their paths intersect one cold night and find their stories overlapping and hurtling into very new and different directions. The book is all coming of age filled with romance, drama, and enough tear-jerking moments to fill a bathtub.
Echoing the words of our Books Editor, Henry Crabtree, in his 2018 Books Section Introduction, words don’t mean anything at all unless you let them and form your own meaning behind them. Everyone experiences a book differently: we all may have read the same words, but the meaning we derive and the feelings we experience won’t be the same. Even a person reading the same book a second time experiences it differently; maybe the words that made their heart clench before are the same that makes them sigh wistfully now. For Audrey, Will Grayson, Will Grayson was an escape. It allowed her to leave her own life and get lost in another’s. However, the book later became an inspiration for her. It gave her the confidence to be who she wanted to be and pushed her out of her comfort zone. It’s what convinced her to go to a boarding school away from her family, to study abroad in a new country, until eventually she found herself, here, at St Andrews.
A theme for all of us in this new academic year is taking chances: whether you are only just starting at a new school and making new friends, or learning new things both academically and inwardly. I’m sure we are all afraid and unsure of the unknown that lies before us, so that we have become stuck in a metaphorical writer’s block in our story. So whenever you find yourself at this moment in your life, I’d like you to recall the words of David Levithan, “[You’re] trying to figure out if you want to fall, or how and when you’re gonna land, and I gotta tell you, friends, to stop thinking about the landing, because it’s all about falling.”
Audrey Sims and Cate S. Casalme