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Wild Awake
Hilary T. Smith
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Bryan Peterson

Love You Hate You Miss You

Love You Hate You Miss You - Elizabeth Scott Alright, I’m officially an Elizabeth Scott fangirl. Can I have my badge now, please?My rating of Love You Hate You Miss You is probably more indicative of my reading experience, given of the stage of life I’m in right now, as opposed to a rating of the book per se. Had this book been around when I was 17, I’d be slapping stars around with more abandon. Having some distance from that particular age, I read it with more appreciation for the quietly expressive writing, and rather less of the deeply visceral reaction it might have evoked some time ago. The story takes the form of the first-person narration and letters written by sixteen-year-old Amy, to her dead best friend Julia. Amy is just out of a treatment centre, raw and angry and grieving, and her story unravels as she considers the evolution of her friendship with Julia, the events surrounding and preceding Julia’s death, and Amy’s relationship with her parents.Distance and perspective make it a simple task to see the toxicity of Julia and Amy’s mutually enabling and some-what destructive friendship, and to be frustrated that Amy continues to put Julia on a pedestal to some extent. I’m still not sure whether I agree with Amy’s final assessment of Julia. But that’s me personally, and I do think that Amy’s viewpoint and opinions are very much reflective of her age and experiences. Scott depicts a friendship that is more complex than just categorically good or bad. For all the damage wreaked by Amy and Julia’s relationship, Scott also gives us glimpses into why these two connected and felt they needed each other. Agree or disagree, it’s almost an almost pitch perfect portrayal of a friendship that both fosters and soothes the insecurities and dependencies of two teenage girls. However, the most interesting and touching relationship for me in this story was that of Amy and her parents. Amy’s feelings of isolation and exclusion from her parent’s obvious love and apparent pre-occupation with each other is a deviation from the usual YA tropes of dysfunctional or just plain absentee adults. The healing of the rift between parents and child is slow and hesitant, a tenuous thread of hope that Amy fears to grasp in the depths of her self-hatred. I will confess that I was expecting a very dramatic climax to the story, so I was actually pleased with the more subdued and subtle way that it played out. Rather than overwrought scenes in which the main character hits rock bottom with a lot of tearful brouhaha, Scott writes Amy’s growing acceptance of herself and others with restraint and a sort of quiet tenderness. This, in my opinion, makes the close of the story much more affecting. Scott’s writing and in particular her capture of Amy’s voice is clear and believable. There is a slight sparseness to the story, a stripping back to the bare bones of Amy’s emotional state, which avoids the heavy-handedness often found in so-called “issues” books. This reads more like a glimpse into the unfiltered thoughts of a troubled and grieving teenage girl, as opposed to a laboured pastiche of angst, drama and thinly-veiled moralising. Scott’s writing leaves the story open to the reader, and doesn’t answer every question posed in the text.This is not an always an easy book to read, and there are definitely aspects of Amy and her choices that did not always sit well with me. But it’s moving and well-written, and I’m entirely won over by Elizabeth Scott’s beautiful handling of the story.