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Peer Work

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Caroline's letter to Mr. F. Paul Wilson and Matthew J. Costello
By Caroline LeBlanc
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 1999 Category: Letters About Literature

Dear Mr. F. Paul Wilson and Matthew J. Costello,

Putting exactly into words how much your book, Mirage, inspired me is almost impossible. I can hardly describe how much I loved and enjoyed it. It was truly a fascinating story full of new and exciting concepts that I'd never really thought about, or even imagined for that matter. To think that a device could someday be made, capable of reading someone's memories is incredible to me, and Julie Gordon was the perfect character. She was so wholesome and good natured, it was easy to see how she would want to help people. I really enjoyed discovering how much Julie and I are alike. I sometimes feel as though I don't belong, and knowing that there's someone like me made the book much more interesting because it was though I was looking through a mirror ? a perfect reflection of my own soul. Besides our kindred spirits, the two aspects of the story that paralleled my life the most were the relationship between Julie and Samantha Gordon, and the idea that we are our memories.

One of the ideas in the story that I particularly connected with was the sibling rivalry between Julie and Samantha. Even though their father, Nathan, manipulated their brains to isolate certain functions, Julie was always the brainy, reserved sister, while twin Samantha was the artistic, outgoing one. And yet, even though they were complete opposites, they were still there for each other when one was in need of help. This could not be more like the relationship I have with my brother. We are so different form one another that it's sometimes scary. While I work hard and get good grades, my brother, Sebastien, isn't quite so interested in school and so doesn't do so well. But what Sebastien lacks in school, he makes up for in real life. He has always been extremely friendly and has no problem meeting people. People seem to flock to him like sheep and he knows how to read them. I, on the other hand, am unnaturally shy. I have difficulty opening up to people because I'm so afraid of being ridiculed, so making friends takes much longer. I readily admit that I have always resented my brother for his popularity, somewhat like the jealousy Julie had for Samantha. Because Sebastien finds his niche so much faster than I do, I sometimes wish I could be more like him.

My brother and I also have severely contrasting personalities, exactly like Sam and Julie. He is messy and listens to heavy-metal music, while I am immaculately clean and like jazz. My friends consist mostly of what people call "science geeks," while Sebastien's friends are the "smoking trouble-makers." These differences in character often lead to heated arguments. There are a lot of punches given from both sides, I can tell you that. But, similar to Sam and Julie, whenever one of us is in trouble, the other will help in a second. Even though my brother and I disagree on pretty much everything, and have had fights that would make Desert Storm look like a day at the beach, I love him to death. He is one of my closest friends and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have him looking over my shoulder, protecting me against the evils of the world. Your book helped me realize what a unique relationship I have with Sebastien ? a relationship I should cherish, and one that I shall appreciate for life.

Besides the blossoming friendship between Julie and her sister, Samantha, my favorite idea in the book was that we are our memories and that our memories are what make us whole. This facet of the story really hit me hard. I have always felt linked to my memories. They are my most prized possessions because, being part of a military family, I haven't had the luxury of knowing the same friends since kindergarten. I often sit back and listen to my friends recount the many things they have done together while growing up, and I can say nothing because I haven't been there to experience it. It sometimes saddens me to know that I don't really have anyone with whom to share all my experiences, but just thinking about all of the wonderful things that I've done makes me happy again. I wouldn't give up my life for anything on the face of the earth. Although I don't enjoy moving, I have never regretted the wonderful adventures I've had, nor the great people I've been fortunate enough to meet. Your book helped me realized what a precious gift my memories are. They are as much a part of me and my soul as a petal is part of a tulip. Your book also helped me realize how fragile memories are, and how easily they can be altered or forgotten. I really enjoyed the scenes in the book when Julie was inside Samantha's memoryscape. It was truly exciting to see your perceptions on how memories are organized. I had always thought of memories as being files that are arranged in a filing cabinet, waiting to be opened. But your idea of memories as parallel universes was much more beautiful and romantic. I enjoyed seeing how abstract the memories were, and I relished to read about both the good and the bad memories. It was also interesting to witness how Samantha's memories were decaying and to see how she suppressed memories that she subconsciously could not allow herself to access.

Your book helped me realize the importance of my family and my memories. The lessons I learned from your book are not lessons that will help me greatly in a classroom, but they are by far the most valuable lessons that I will be able to apply in my life, which is what truly matters in the long run.

Very sincerely yours,
Caroline LeBlanc
12th grade
Chugiak High School, Chugiak
Teacher: Rhonda Gardner

Additional Comment by Caroline

My name is Caroline, and I am 18 years old. I was born in Ontario, Canada, and have been living in Alaska for the past four years because of my Dad's job (I'm a military brat). In my spare time, I enjoy sports such as running, hiking, swimming, and ultimate frisbee, as well as reading, painting, and sewing. Next year, I will be attending Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where I will major in Biology. I enjoy reading books of all sorts, but I really like mystery novels, especially those of Agatha Christie.

I thank you so much for this wonderful honor.

Very sincerely,

Caroline


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