I have several problems with Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum. I just felt that Jessie was a fucking idiot.
Jessie’s mother died two years ago and her father has married a rich woman who lives in California. Jessie spends the entire book whining about moving, and about her new family, and about how everyone else is rich. When she arrives, some weirdo calling themselves SomebodyNobody (SN) starts emailing her, and they continue to IM throughout the semester. Jessie also meets a boy named Ethan, whom she has a huge crush on. Hmmm…I wonder who SN could possibly be?
I’ll start with the positives:
I did not like Jessie, but when she says:
My favorite word, on the other hand, is ‘waffle.’ Both a delicious breakfast food and a verb (Buxbaum 74).
I liked the good representation of waffles in Tell Me Three Things. You know who likes waffles? Everyone. This does not make Jessie a unique character, but at least she has good food preferences. This is the perfect time to tell you all my current meal plan. You can feed yourself for only $12 a week with Eggo Waffles. At Walmart, they’ll sell you a box of 40 waffles for $6. I, personally, buy 80 waffles. What can I say? I’m an extreme chick. I just thought that was information the public needed. You’re welcome.
UPDATE: I went to Walmart in search of waffles right after writing this, and the largest box they had contained 24 waffles. I was disappointed. I don’t know if they’re out of the boxes with 40 waffles or if they’ve stopped selling them, but I will keep you all updated on these important developments.
I also like Theo, Jessie’s step-brother. Theo is so protective here, and he’s the big brother I always wanted. Theo should have been the main character.
’Really?’ Theo says, and at first I think he’s talking to me, and I feel so alone that I may actually cry, right here, right now. Finally give the people what they want. ‘Touch Jessie again, and I swear to God, I will ruin you’ (Buxbaum 215).
Those are the only positive comments I have about the book.
Jessie is a stupid girl.
STUPID THINGS JESSIE SAYS:
Me: (1) I have this whole weird theory of the universe that I don’t actually believe but I like to think about. Like we are something tiny and insignificant, like ants, to some larger, more complex species, which sort of explains all the weird random things that can happen, like hurricanes and cancer (Buxbaum 109).
I’ve thought of this too. You know who else has? Dr. Seuss. This is the entire plot of Horton Hears a Who, a classic. Get over yourself, Jessie. You’re not original. Also, how would some larger species cause cancer? I could see a larger species causing hurricanes, because they’re so massive and outside of us, but how could some huge species create something that happens inside of a person?
The other day, some girl wore a T-shirt that said GAP across the front. Gem didn’t even nudge Crystal. For whatever reason, I seem to be her only target (Buxbaum 139).
Can I just say, THE GAP IS NOT AN INEXPENSIVE STORE!!! I live in Albuquerque. Here, the Gap is in our Uptown shopping center with the rest of the high-end stores. Jessie makes several comments about the Gap in the book, and I noticed that this is not the only book that uses the Gap as a source of “cheap clothing”. The Gap is not cheap.
There could be other reasons that Gem dislikes Jessie, besides Jessie’s clothing. For example, Gem’s boyfriend likes Jessie. I can see how that would upset Gem. I wish that Gem had more depth to her character instead of just being a mean girl. Buxbaum mentions that Gem’s father was in jail, or got in trouble for something, but it is very brief, and when Jessie learns it, she feels no sympathy at all. Jessie should have, towards the end of the novel, taken the time to understand Gem, because I doubt that she’s just a bitchy girl.
’It occurred to me just now that I’m finally, officially, in every single way a person can be, a bona fide grown-up. But honestly, sometimes I forget, and think I’m twenty-two. You know what I mean?’ he asks. I hope he knows I do not. How could I? Twenty-two sounds old to me. (Buxbaum 143).
The book tries to be funny, but this is one of the only moments where I laughed. Not because of Buxbaum’s writing (I think this is supposed to be a serious moment), but because of an inside joke between me and my friend. I keep calling him old because he’s 24, which is five years older than I am. He actually existed at the same time as Kurt Cobain. However, I have never actually thought anyone in their 20’s was old, and if Jessie is being genuine here, then this is another instance of her being a fool.
When Caleb, a boy Jessie suspects is SN, walks into the bookstore where she works:
I told SN just this morning about this place. So it doesn’t take great powers of deduction to conclude that this must be him before me, finally, in the flesh (Buxbaum 177).
If SN wants to keep his identity a secret, why would he go to the place where you work, right after you told him you work there? Also, Liam, Caleb’s very good friend, also works there. Maybe, he’s here to see his fucking friend and not some random girl? I love how she brags about her “powers of deduction”, because I don’t think she has any.
Jessie’s English teacher says this to her towards the end:
’By the way, I look forward to your and Ethan’s ‘Waste Land’ paper. You’re two of my brightest students. I have great expectations’ (Buxbaum 300).
This made me laugh too. Jessie is portrayed as a smart student throughout the book, even though she has all these idiotic thoughts. At her old school she was valedictorian, but I don’t know if she knows what a valedictorian is.
***SPOILER BELOW*** (But you should go ahead and read the spoiler, and not worry about the book at all)
The end of Tell Me Three Things was predictable. I don’t even know if I’d call this a spoiler. Of course SN is fucking Ethan. The fact that it didn’t even cross her mind is annoying. At least in a fantasy sort of way, since she has a huge crush on him. If I had a huge crush on a boy, and some unknown boy was messaging me, I would hope that it was the boy that I had a huge crush on. I would probably dismiss the thought as wishful thinking, but the idea would have at least entered my head.