“Money makes the world go ‘round.”
“You reap what you sow.”
“Life isn’t fair.”
After reading the latest novel by Karly Kirkpatrick, “The Green,” these were the phrases that came to mind. Although they are cliché, the novel is anything but. In fact, for anyone who has faced adversity, it is easy to related to the dreams and desires of Kirkpatrick’s heroine, Ari—although most wouldn’t agree with how she goes about reaching her goals.
Ari Pisa is a seventeen-year-old honor student at Cambridge High School with dreams of attending Northwestern University. When it comes to academics, Ari has it all, but she doesn’t come from the same economic background as her peers at school. Her mom works two jobs so that Ari can stay in the Cambridge district, and her brother is a couch potato, who lacks moral fiber. When her brother decides to take off, Ari thinks it is a blessing in disguise until she finds out her brother’s job as a drug dealer was what kept them in their basement apartment. Desperate not to lose her dreams when they are within her grasp, she takes over her brother’s job.
It is what happens after she strikes a bargain with the devil that she gets a true taste of the dark side of life. As her extracurricular job grows more demanding, it begins to take a toll on her school life and personal relationships. She teeters on the edge, until finally, it all comes crashing down around her.
What I love about Ari’s story is the simple truth that there are no easy roads in life, and when you find one that seems too good to be true, it is. Ari is a driven heroine. She knows hard work is the key to her success, yet she takes the easy road to get “the green” out of desperation. What I also love about the story is that she always tries to do everything on her own, like she’s the adult. She doesn’t ask for help, and I think it’s a great lesson she learns by the end of the novel. We all need a little help, either from friends and family or through financial assistant for higher education. No one can stand alone; you just have to put your trust in the right place—and not just with where the money is.
“The Green” is Kirkpatrick’s best novel to date. She really nails Ari’s struggle in a realistic story that even adults could learn a lesson from.