“Call It What You Want” is a novel that explores the complexities of human relationships, choices, and the consequences that arise from them. While the title might be ambiguous, the story delves deep into the lives of its characters, forcing readers to reflect on their own judgments and preconceptions. Here’s a detailed summary and analysis of this captivating tale.
Setting and Context
The novel is set in a contemporary suburban town, where the lives of teenagers are intertwined with family secrets, school dramas, and personal challenges. The backdrop is familiar, making the story all the more relatable to its readers.
- Rob: Once popular and admired, Rob’s life takes a turn when his father is caught embezzling funds from half the town, leading to a suicide attempt. Rob becomes an outcast, grappling with guilt and the weight of his family’s actions.
- Maegan: A high-achieving student who makes a single mistake during her SATs, leading to her and her peers’ scores being invalidated. As a result, she becomes a target of resentment and scorn.
The story revolves around Rob and Maegan, who are paired together for a calculus project. Both are grappling with their own demons, trying to find redemption and acceptance.
As they spend more time together, Rob and Maegan form an unlikely friendship. They discover solace in each other’s company, realizing that they are not alone in their struggles. Their bond deepens when they confide their deepest secrets and fears to each other.
Rob is dealing with the aftermath of his father’s actions. He’s burdened with the responsibility of caring for his father, who’s in a vegetative state after a failed suicide attempt. To make ends meet, Rob starts engaging in morally ambiguous activities, like stealing from the wealthier homes in his neighborhood.
Maegan, on the other hand, grapples with guilt over her decision to cheat, which cost her classmates their SAT scores. She also deals with challenges at home, especially concerning her sister, Samantha, who’s pregnant and unsure about her future.
As the story unfolds, the pair finds themselves in a web of dilemmas, facing moral decisions that could change the course of their lives. The narrative delves into themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the gray areas of morality.
Themes and Analysis
- Judgment and Prejudice: The novel brings to light how quickly society can turn on individuals based on a single mistake. Both Rob and Maegan experience ostracization, highlighting the harsh realities of societal judgment.
- Redemption: Throughout the story, characters seek redemption in different ways. Whether it’s Rob’s attempts to rectify his father’s wrongs or Maegan’s efforts to make amends, the theme of redemption is ever-present.
- The Complexity of Choices: The novel emphasizes that choices are rarely black and white. Characters are often faced with dilemmas where there’s no clear right or wrong answer.
- The Power of Human Connection: Despite their initial differences, Rob and Maegan’s bond showcases the healing power of human connection. Their friendship becomes a beacon of hope in their tumultuous lives.
“Call It What You Want” is a poignant exploration of human nature, judgment, and the quest for redemption. The novel forces readers to introspect, challenging them to question their own biases and preconceptions. It’s a tale of resilience, forgiveness, and the transformative power of genuine human connections.