Cath is reluctantly entering her second semester of college. Actually, not so much reluctantly as accidentally. Or unconsciously. I love the way Rowell describes Cath drifting back to school as a series of small decisions— before she knew it she was back in the dorm. Whenever I’ve had to do something big and scary and seemingly impossible to tackle (moving away from home, starting a new job, anything to do with public speaking), the build-up was worse than actually doing it. I mean, that’s what anxiety is. Looking ahead at what you have to do feels like standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and trying to figure out how to jump across it. But once it’s time to do it, you can focus on taking one tiny step at a time, which is much less scary than taking a giant leap.
With everything that’s on Cath’s mind this semester, all I can say is thank goodness for Reagan. She wasn’t lying about making Levi keep his distance and she doesn’t let it become this weird thing between her and Cath. She just keeps those two relationships separate without letting any signs of strain or awkwardness show. And once Levi is back in the picture, Reagan takes the news of his impending date with Cath totally in stride: “Good for you,” she says. No, good for you, Reagan. You’re the best. I also love how she absorbs Cath’s emotional baggage without any fanfare. Upon hearing that Cath’s mom left when she was little, she simply says “that is crazy.” No follow-up questions, no prying for juicy details. She’s such a good fit for a private person like Cath. Sometimes the university housing lottery just gets it right.
Levi’s back! And he’s here to say that it wasn’t just a kiss (swoon). His little speech about wanting a second chance is so sweet and I love the concept of Cath needing to root for him in order for their relationship to move forward. It’s a way of making sure they’re on the same page without putting pressure on Cath to make a concrete decision. So is she rooting for him? Of course she is, and so are we! And he’s rooting for her too, which is exactly what she needs to hear right now.
- Cath’s observation about Ugg boots is genius.
- Someone carved the lyrics to “Stairway to Heaven” into a bathroom stall door in Andrews Hall. Eyeroll. The most pretentious graffiti could always be found in the English department bathroom at my college.
- As a slightly self-hating English major (see above eyeroll), I was squirming throughout Professor Piper’s pep talk to Cath. “There’s nothing more profound than creating something out of nothing. . . That’s what makes a god” (261). You guys, stuff like this is why writers are almost always insufferable ego-monsters (not you, Rainbow).