The story of Tommy’s disappearance is told through 19 chapters narrated by different people. The piece that ties all of the stories together is the pull-out; a small patch of dirt by the Stillwell Ranch. Tommy’s motorbike, Ruby, was found there, as well as notebook pages, goggles, keys by different characters as they tell their stories.
Each character shows, through their tale, the evidence of things not seen within their own lives; sexual abuse, dementia, love, fear, longing, anger and pain.
Even though everyone is talking about Tommy and who he was to them, they reveal who they are as well.
This is a good story to launch a discussion about particle physics, philosophy, religion, human perspective and observation. Evidence of Things Not Seen will keep you wondering even after you close the book.
My favorite quote:
Upon finding a small piece of notebook paper, Karla reads,
“‘Need to tell Alvin that I named my bike Ruby. He said it had to be a girl’s name and match its personality. I don’t think a bike can have a personality. But I found a name that matches the color. And it’s a girl’s name. I looked it up. Yeah. Ruby.’
Karla turns the paper over hoping there’s something else on the other side. She wants to know more about Alvin and Ruby and whoever wrote this funny little not to himself. Or herself. It seems like the stupidest and most important note in the world. She wishes that she had written it.” (p104)
Romeo and Juliet were not the only young star crossed lovers in this book. Told from Benvolio’s point of view and through other ‘minor character’ diaries and notes, readers appreciate a greater understanding of fair Verona and the politics of the Capulet’s and Montague’s feuding. The revelation author, Rachel Caine, creates gives this old tale a new twist. Even those who are not well versed in Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet will enjoy this story told in a new light.
Young adult author, Ann Aguirre (Razorland Trilogy), brings readers into the game where mortals are the pieces and the rules are unknown. The story’s protagonist is a brilliant but unattractive young lady who has been tormented to the breaking point. Aguirre touches on a lot of true and painful topics throughout the story. This isn’t your typical paranormal thriller because these characters are beautifully flawed and full of self doubt, but still made me laugh out loud at some points. All teen literature needs a sprinkle or romance but with lines like, “I came up on my knees and hugged him; sometimes it felt like we were two halves of the same soul, and that was so stupid it made me feel like I lost IQ points just thinking it.” (p. 213) The romance in this story is cute, quirky and smart. I love strong female protagonists and Edie’s one tough girl. mortal Danger stands well on its own but it is also a strong start for another trilogy.
I watched the movie Hannah the other night and it made an impression on me. I have been thinking about the split between the rough action outer-casing story and the internal fairy tale being told through subtle visual clues. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
John Corey Whaley does not disappoint with his 2014 release, Noggin. Frankenstein, reanimation, zombies, there are many tales of horror based on these fear inducing beings, but what if they didn’t come back as abominations, and instead were much the same as they had been in life? John Corey Whaley confronts a myriad of bizarre, sad and just plain wrong situations with grace and humor in his new book, Noggin. When Travis Cotes wakes up with a new healthy body (curiosity of Jeremy Pratt) he becomes an object of hope and fear but really he’s just a teenager trying to make sense of his life-five years after he’s died. The beauty of Whaley’s characters thrust into this freak situation is their adaptivity. When I read the phrase “Cryogenic American” I laughed so hard that I spit chai down the front of me.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“Of the string of weird days that had made up my recent life, this one was shaping up to be the longest and most bizarre. Within a couple of hours we would illegally pour my ashes onto the grave of a stranger whose body happens to be holding up my head.” (p.325)
“There is no delicate way to tell a person that he is holding a container full of the incinerated remains of his own body.” (p.36)
“And you can’t go to sleep at night knowing you have some poor kid’s body attached to you and feeling like you don’t have any damn good use for it.” (p.81)
I knew I wanted to order this book from the moment I read Neil Gaiman’s assessment of The 13 Clocks by James Thurber, “[it] is probably the best book in the world.” (p.7)
I was not disappointed. This story is a beautiful journey into the dark forest where childhood terrors find life but are exposed and slayed by a disguised prince. The Golux resonates strongly with me, because although he is one of a kind he is forgetful and imperfect and sometimes whispers advice to me (I think).
“Half the places I have been to, never were. I make things up. Half the things I say are there cannot be found. When I was young I told a tale of buried gold, and men from leagues around dug in the woods. I dug myself.”
“I thought the tale of treasure might be true.”
“You said you made it up.”
But I, like the Golux, always believe the tale of treasure might be true. I expect that I will continue digging to find out the truth of my stories. I hope you do too.
Wow! I’m reading an adult book! The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt won the Pulitzer prize for fiction and was recommended to me by one of my patrons.
The reader finds herself stumbling along through Theo’s life in shock and sadness throughout as one tragic act sets his life spinning this way and that like a pinball bouncing around with only a few anchors, to keep him from spiraling totally off the map.
This reader fears Theo will continue making poor choices and I fear to continue reading but at the same time I am compelled to finish and see how it plays out.
The language is rich and the human condition is expressed as W. Somerset Maugham did so well in his writing. In the end, however, I feel like the author was more heavy handed in delivering her ‘life message’ than Maugham and I feel like the reader may be missing the chance to bring his/her own experience in order to glean something personally important from the story. I am glad to have read this book and would enjoy a discussion about it.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:
Boris’ take on homosexuality, “Boris shrugged. ‘Who cares? If he is good to you? None of us ever find enough kindness in the world, do we?'” (p.282)
Theo’s comment on the Goldfinch painting, “Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch’s ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature-fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place.” (p.306)
There are a few others (but they are scribbled down at home on a random scrap of paper).