Owen is a record player in a tape player world. He’s just completely out of step with his life. It’s not really his fault – he’s trying hard, but he’s not getting anywhere. If it wasn’t for Natalie Field, a girl who just happened to speak to him one day, he would have kept trying to fit in, settled for the car his father wanted him to drive, and the college his mother wanted to attend.
Natalie changed a lot of things.
Including Owen’s belief that he is all alone. He feels such huge relief that he figures that yes – this is it. I must be in love.
And of course, that ruins everything.
A Very Long Way From Anywhere Else by Ursula LeGuin was reprinted in paperback in 2000, but the characters still ring true from their 1976 incarnation. Now we are CD people in an iPod world, thoughtful introverts trying to make it in high schools filled with extroverts who seem to flash, buzz and screech to a different drummer, all the while wondering what it’s like to be so different. The Owens of the world owe it to themselves to not try to keep in step. Things that are one of a kind are, after all, are rare, and to be treasured.