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How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland

How the Light Gets In (original 2003; edition 2004)

by M. J. Hyland

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4931129,536 (3.41)126
Title:How the Light Gets In
Authors:M. J. Hyland
Info:Canongate U.S. (2004), Edition: Later Printing, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Home Library, Your library

Work details

How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland (2003)

  1. 00
    Looking for Alaska by John Green (Cecilturtle)
  2. 00
    Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: How the Light Gets In by M. J. Hyland may also be paired with Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

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» See also 126 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Lou is a decidedly unlikable character: self-centered, disrespectful, unaware and withdrawn. In other words, she is a typical teenager, seeing life through her narrow lens and unable to open her eyes to the impacts of her own actions, only the impacts of others unto her. She has reason to have a chip of her shoulder, but so concentrated is she on her own perceptions and goals that she fails to see how she sabotages herself.
It is only in second part of the story, when she is finally able to connect to Gita and Lishny that she realizes that she is not alone - and thus the light starts to get in. She learns her final lesson when she, herself, becomes a victim of someone else's selfish act.
This is what makes this book so interesting and compelling: young Lou, who is far from perfect and still has so much to learn, does change even in an infinitesimal way to grow toward adulthood. The quintessential coming of age novel. ( )
  Cecilturtle | Apr 12, 2014 |
Wanted to keep reading til the end but disappointed with the ending. Sydney girl from dysfunctional family flies to the U.S. to live with exchange family. Smoking, boys become and issue and she is taken away from her host family and ends up in a facility for failed exchange students. Bleak portrayal of usual teenage issues.
  jennifermary | Oct 30, 2013 |
This was very readable in terms of the writing style, and the theme was interesting enough – a gifted Australian teenager from a deprived background travels to Chicago to live with a family on some kind of exchange scheme. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to though – it was a bit like driving down a long, straight road where the scenery doesn’t change. However much you don’t want to, you find yourself drifting off. In the novel, protagonist Lou makes various social faux pas, mostly by thinking the correct thing to say then saying something inappropriate. She drinks/smokes/takes drugs, alienates her foster parents, is given another chance, then messes up again, and the circle goes on. There didn’t seem to be the normal plot trajectory where everything builds up to a moment of drama. When the game changer occurs, which sends the plot ricocheting to its conclusion, it was something so minor and unconnected with the previous events that I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Having spent a couple of hundred pages feeling as though Lou largely brought her problems on herself, was I supposed to suddenly forget that and sympathise totally? I’m just not sure – about that, and about the novel as a whole. ( )
  jayne_charles | Sep 11, 2013 |
Hmmm. Well I thought I'd enjoyed Carry Me Down when I read it a couple of years ago but it looks like my memory is playing tricks on me from the looks of what I wrote at the time. Interesting. I did however really like this book. Sixteen year old Lou moves from her own family in Sydney to somewhere near Chicago to stay with the Harding family as an exchange student at a local high school. She makes her own family out to be, on the whole, a pretty appalling bunch living in near squalor and the American family who take her in are very much in the well off, large house, tanned with perfect teeth mould. Lou is obviously clever but is clearly going to have real trouble fitting in here. The first person narration means that we see how everything falls apart from inside Lou's head. This makes it really compelling to read and you don't end up agreeing with what others think of Lou (or at least I didn't). I was enjoying the book loads and preparing myself for being let down by the ending - mostly because I couldn't figure out where the author was leading to at all. But I wasn't let down - it was very well concluded.
  nocto | Dec 8, 2010 |
I enjoyed this book immensely, but less for the story, characters, or conclusion than for the writing. Lou's perspective is so often thought provoking. She isn't necessarily right, yet her assessments ring true clearly with some things while she appears oblivious about others. It is stated that Lou has a high IQ, yet she fails to be smart over and over again in the ways that would benefit her, more out of childish beliefs than due to self-destructive impulses. Hyland captures that contrast in a way that is fair and believable.

Several times while reading, I paused to savor a passage or paragraph. I laughed often with pleasure at this novel's wit. It has a crushingly bitter ending, however, managing to be both inevitable and unexpected at the same time. ( )
  lost_in_pages | Aug 10, 2010 |
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For Richard Clements 1951-1999
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In less than two hours this aeroplane will land at Chicago's O'Hare airport.
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In this acutely observed and darkly humorous tale of adolescence, a gifted but unhappy 16-year-old Australian girl trades poverty for suburban suffocation when she takes part in an exchange program in the U.S.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143001280, 0143204777

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