I remember reading Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” in middle school, as a part of the unit for S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. I don’t remember much of The Outsiders but I do remember bits and pieces of Frost’s poem over the years and they’ve stayed with me.
“Nothing Gold Can Stay” is a poem that’s woven into Jessi Kirby’s Golden and provides a theme for the novel. The various lines of the poem, most notably, “Nothing gold can stay” serves as a reminder for the characters and the meaning of the poem changes for Parker Frost, the main character, as she experiences new things and changes her outlook on life.
I saw a lot of the person that I was in high school in Parker and perhaps that’s why I love her so much. She’s determined, smart, and sure of what she wants. She’s played it safe all throughout high school, preferring studying to partying and volunteering to vacationing over spring break, all to get into Stanford, where she wants to become a pre-med. Parker’s the quintessential good girl—never breaking any rules and always traveling the road that most people traveled. I saw myself in her—the “safe” choices, the determination, and the fear in doing something unexpected.
When Parker finds a missing girl’s journal, she sees something different and it provides the motivation for Parker to change her life before high school ends and she graduates. I loved how the story seemed natural and how Julianna Furnetti’s, who is the missing girl, story flowed seamlessly with Parker’s.
There’s so many quotable lines from the book, even from the first page.
“Life is made of moments and choices. Not all of them matter, or have any lasting impact… Then there’s a different kind of moment. One when things are irrevocably changed by a choice we make. A moment we will play endlessly in our minds on lonely nights and empty days… So we explain it to ourselves, justify it enough to sleep. And then we bury it deep, so deep we can almost pretend it never happened. But as much as we wish it were different, the truth is, our worlds are sometimes balanced on choices we make and the secrets we keep.”
“Chance is everywhere. It’s also what life is made of. It’s all around us, but most of the time we never see it working. We turn left instead of right, we take the stairs instead of the elevator cross the street for no apparent reason. Our lives are made of these little moments that somehow add up, and sometimes, if we look back, we can see chance working.”
Golden is honestly one of the best books I’ve read so far and I know I’ll be flipping through it again soon.
photo from unsplash, graphics by me