When I first browsed hurriedly through LOVEindifferenceHATE(LiH from now on, for convenience’s sake), what caught my eye was naturally the chinese characters and colorful graphics adorning the top of the blogspot blog. They are beautiful, admittedly, but I was a bit puzzled about the choice of the chinese characters, as they have no obvious relation to the blog title, the blog or the writer.
My habit when reviewing blogs is to first find out any information on the blog about the writer. I find it helpful to have at least a hazy image in mind when I read the entries, so generally my first impressions are garnered from writers’ self-introduction. I have to say that Jessica’s way of doing it, by posting up one of those twenty-questions things(Favorite food? Favorite cartoon character? etc.) – except in her case it’s more like twenty-thousand-questions – did not impress me very much. It somehow presented her as a callow teenager. However, as soon as I started to read her posts I found out how wrong that impression was.
Jessica, as projected on LiH, is a young woman pursuing her dream of being a teacher. She likes children a lot, in a non-mushy way, and is a nurturer. She is also trying to come to terms with and overcome her depression, a breakdown she suffered more than four months ago, and an ugly break-up.
It’s not so much Jessica’s experiences that make LiH such a diamond of a blog; it’s her. Jessica, the person. Her entries are all personal, all heartfelt, all honest, and easy to relate to. It’s a combination of her introspective musings, observative comments and unflinching candour. There are times when, reading through her entries, I feel a surge of admiration. Even when she is dealing with issues painful to her, Jessica manages to offer glimpses of insight and inspiration to the reader, often without seeming to. These ‘painful’ posts are never painful to read; they are seldom self-pitying moans, but rather, genuine portrayals of her current thoughts and emotions. Perhaps the best thing about LiH is that Jessica writes not only when she’s overcome with melancholy, nor only when she’s regained total control of her senses. She writes when she’s caught up by her current sorrow or anger, and she writes when she’s composed and had time to think things through. This way, readers get the whole picture. Although this may not sound like a big deal, it is a point that further enhances the readability of LiH. For one, readers feel involved. For another, they feel like they’re reading about a real person’s real life instead of just a ranting spot.
The design of LiH is fairly typical blogspot: title with graphics right on top, followed by entries in the wide left column and links plus a tagboard in the narrower right column. I find no fault with the layout, though, as I mentioned, I am a little puzzled over the choice of the chinese characters and graphics.
Once in a while, I come accross a blog that touches me to the point of tears. Once in a very long while, a blogger makes me wish that he or she is my friend. LiH and Jessica accomplish those. The only reasons LiH did not get a 5.0 from me are the various annoying run time errors, certain bad links(entries from 07/06/2003 – 07/12/2003) and a smattering of spelling errors. Fix those, and you have a perfect blog.