Have you read Stargirl?
I wrote about it a couple of years ago, but the short version is that Stargirl has been homeschooled her whole life, then starts attending high school, doing all manner of crazy things (playing a ukulele during lunch to anyone who has a birthday, bringing a pet rat to school, wearing pioneer type clothing,etc). At first she’s wildly popular, but then her weirdness ostracizes people. Leo, who has been enchanted with her from the beginning, begins dating her and when the shunning reaches him, he convinces her to start being “normal.” When people still hate her, she eventually returns to her previous odd behavior and Leo breaks up with her.
Anyway, we read Stargirl (and the companion book, Love, Stargirl) for book club this month (for the record, I didn’t love them as much as I did a few years ago).
In the course of our discussion last night, I asked who felt like they were a Stargirl and who felt like they were more of a Leo. Two of us immediately identified with Leo, while two were strongly in the Stargirl camp. The remaining seven didn’t identify themselves as one way or another.
This book, and certainly others, appear to be making out people who are their own kind of unusual to be somehow better or more true to themselves than those who fit more easily into the norm.
Is there somehow a feeling that everyone would be a Stargirl if they had the bravery to face down the naysayers?
I have no desire to be a Stargirl. I don’t wish to be different or feel that I’m repressing my true self in order to fit in. I just happen to be a little bit quiet in large groups (less so in small ones). I don’t have a desire to wear outrageous clothing. I rarely want to be the center of attention.
I would have a hard time being in a relationship with someone who was so wildly flamboyant. I hate awkwardness.
The book makes Leo out to be the guy who is just conforming to the masses and that, if he were less the product of a strict high school social system, he too would be strumming a ukelele at lunchtime or hanging enormous banners proclaiming his love in the quad.
I just can’t agree that being “weird” somehow means you are more yourself. Isn’t normal considered normal because many, or maybe even most, people are naturally like that?
Can’t you be yourself and still be a very average human?