At the end of the novel, Melinda says, " I look at my homely sketch. It doesn't need anything. It isn't perfect and that makes it just right." explain
It is at the end of the novel and through the progression of her tree drawings and art that Melinda finds the perfection and comfort in imperfection. She realizes that her art does not need to be perfect and that when it is perfect, it is fake. The elementary school tree she drew at the beginning of the novel is flawless; it looks comical and clearly unrealistic. When she pretends to be okay, she becomes a caricature of a high school girl. She is not real. She loses herself. It is only when she realizes that the flaws make the tree realistic and beautiful that she realizes that she needs to embrace the fact that she is not perfect and that nothing in her life will be perfect. That is the first step in her healing process. She beings to embrace her "muddy" eyes, her "flabby" stomach, and all of the other flaws that separate her from the cheerleaders and what she saw as perfection.