Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: The Boy on the Porch

The Boy on the Porch
By Sharon Creech
Expected publication September 3, 2013 by Harpercollins

One day, John and Marta discover a boy asleep on their porch - not a baby, a boy. But the boy doesn't speak and the only clue they have about him is a note: "Plees taik kair of Jacob. He is a god good boy. Wil be bak wen we can." Unsure of what to do, John and Marta do the only thing that feels right - they take care of Jacob. Their lives will never be quite the same.

I've only read a few of Sharon Creech's books, but I've enjoyed those that I have and I'm always meaning to read more. When I spotted her newest available as an e-galley, I knew I wanted to read it, so I requested and read as soon as I could.

This is an extremely quick read - it's just over 150 pages long, with many chapters that are only a few pages or a couple paragraphs long. It probably took me about an hour to read the whole thing. But that doesn't mean it's nothing special. While I'm not sure I'd say I like this as much as her previous books, I quite enjoyed it.

For me, I found this book rather unusual for a children's book, particularly one geared toward middle-grade readers. The main characters of this book are really John and Marta, two adults. Yes, Jacob features rather prominently, but, as he never speaks his own words, what we know of him comes through the lens of John and Marta. This doesn't mean that I think this book is unappealing for kids - in fact, it might even be the opposite. Most kids want to be older - everything will be better when they are older. Perhaps they will be even more likely to read a book with adults as main characters, hoping to gain some insight into what being older will be like. Though I'm not sure they'd find that in this book and this theory could be completely off the wall, it's interesting to consider.

Though it is a slim book, its power is in leaving readers wanting more. By the end of the story, I'm not sure any of a reader's questions will have been properly answered, but I don't think any readers will feel disappointed in this. This book, like many of Creech's, is about family - what it means, how it works, what you would do for them. I think it will leave readers appreciating their own families even more. It's a hopeful and peacefully lovely book, but there is just a little something missing for me, a little bit of the Creech magic that I didn't find.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

No comments:

Post a Comment