outfits of jen from S.

jen heyward from s.

I had a lot of fun reading S., the puzzle book by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams. There are many stories within S. besides the main text the Ship of Theseus. I was most interested in the story of Jen and Eric, two students (kind of) who picked up the Ship of Theseus and wrote notes to each other in the margins.

I love researching, and I am not embarrassed that I also love gossip. Reading their notes in the margins was a fun, guilt free way to do both. By seeing what Jen and Eric wrote to each other, I began to put together their lives and relationship.

I don’t know much about Jen when the story starts other than she’s a voracious reader, has just been dumped, and just needs to pass a few more classes before she can graduate with her bachelor’s degree.

Jen seems smart–she can break codes and use clues to solve some of the Ship of Theseus’ mysteries. She also seems like she’s slowly coming undone as she gets further and further into Eric, the Ship of Theseus, and author V.M. Straka’s other books.

I used The Fashion Sketchpad again (I love it!) to imagine what Jen would be wearing through some of her journey. Then I filed in some color with my watercolors.

illustrating jen from s.

Jen’s a college student who seems more into her studies than fashion (not that you can’t do both), and she doesn’t have much money to spend on clothes. When Jen is sneaking around the tunnels to investigate they mysteries of S., I bet she’d wear something dark and sporty. If she’s researching in the library, it would be skinny jeans and a big sweater.

I think as she’s going through her breakup, Jen would turn to comfortable–but more importantly, comforting–clothes, like a giant old sweater she’s had for years. I imagined her in some brighter colors before her relationship ended, and then grays and blacks after as she tries to recover and begins investigating S.

outfits of jen heyward from s.

The purple stripes and green sweater are what I thought Jen might wear before she met Eric. She would wear some brighter colors, but still a simple look, as she goes to work or meets her old boyfriend for a date. She wears the necklace that he bought her as a gift and has her hair down and done. After he dumps her though, she stays in most nights, in leggings and his old sweatshirt, as she works her way through reading all of Straka’s books.

You can see my other post about S. here.

(I picked out this book on my own and am not being paid to write about it. But if you buy through my links I will receive a little bit of money for it.)

S. (embroidery no. 20)

embroidery of s. by doug dorst and j.j. abrams

Jen and Eric of S. have no problem writing in the margins–this is one of the only things I’m certain of after reading S., J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s mysterious book.

S. tells many stories, within the text, in the margins, and on the web. Jen, a senior undergrad, finds the book the Ship of Theseus after grad student Eric leaves it on a table. She takes a peek, likes what she reads, and writes a note to him in the front cover. When Eric writes back it kicks off love letters, research, mysteries, arson, threats, secret codes, and more. The book within a book structure is similar to House of Leaves (which I wasn’t crazy about) and reminiscent of The Princess Bride (which I am completely crazy about).

I was always a bit more interested in what was going on with Eric and Jen than what was going on in the text of the Ship of Theseus, but both the story and the marginalia are really fun to read.

embroidery of s. by doug dorst and j.j. abrams

And they were both fun to investigate. Jen and Eric are researching the author of the Ship of Theseus, a man called Straka. But no one knows who Straka really is, and he could be anything from an assassin, a 20-year-old man who committed suicide, a group of writers, a man who keeps reincarnating, or, I don’t know, even a monkey.

As Jen an Eric keep investigating, their secrets also spill into the margins. There are secrets on secrets on secrets, and it is so fun to snoop.

embroidery of s. by doug dorst and j.j. abrams

And since it’s J.J. Abrams, the mystery isn’t contained inside the book. There’s even websites that are all a part of the game–with hidden messages, no less. All you have to do is start researching like Jen and Eric did to find some.

House of Leaves felt like work to me, but S. felt like play. And like sneaking on someone’s love letters, but minus the guilt. I have a lot of theories (most of them having to do with the number 19), so did you guys read it?! Hit me up! And check out Word bookstore’s Q&A with the writer!

I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here: