Thursday, June 01, 2006

Criss Cross

I can't believe I almost didn't read this book. It's just the kind of book I'd love. It's quiet and unassuming. It's beautiful in a completely ordinary way. Not much happens, but everything shifts.

I love the way it's written, a third person account of the characters' inner monologues. The narrator states what they feel without commenting on it. (A sharp contrast from Feed, in which it was obvious the author wanted the reader to feel a certain way about what he was describing.) I also enjoyed the illustrations, which really did illustrate.

I think what I enjoyed the most was that the characters seemed so real. They were what I'd call normal kids, not dealing with peer pressure, not trying to save the world, and not having an unlikely adventure. They were just living their mundane lives. And yet they did something I think few people (except Meera) do enough: they noticed the world around them, and took part in it. I think my favorite exmple of this is when Hector goes to the drainage ditch (ravine), and really observes it. And when he sees the litter in action, he takes it upon himself to dispose of it, rather than thinking it's somebody else's job.

For me, the most important point of the book is this: Debbie wants something to happen to her. Something interesting. When she starts paying attention, it become clear that things have been happening all along, and she just needs to notice them and involve herself.

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