In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Monday, May 7, 2012


copyright date:  October 2011
primarily marketed for: young adults (high school)

Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King is unlike anything else I have ever read.  Lucky’s story has lingered in my mind long after I put the book down. 

{The ants cheer.}

Lucky Linderman has been ruthlessly bullied by Nader McMillan since second grade.  Needless to say, high school is not a pleasant experience for him. 

His mother is a squid; she swims laps to escape reality. 

His father is a turtle; he works long hours at his restaurant to escape reality.   

His grandfather fought in the Vietnam War and never returned.  He is officially listed as Prisoner of War/Missing in Action. 

When Lucky’s grandmother died, she charged him with the duty of continuing the search for his missing grandfather. 

The book covers a summer in Lucky’s life when the bullying reaches a point where it can no longer be ignored, the coolness between his parents is about to ice over, and a joke at school has caused suspicions that he is suicidal.  In an effort to address all three issues at once, Lucky and his mom take off to stay with her brother and sister-in-law in Arizona. 

In Arizona, Lucky’s life becomes increasingly more complicated and crazy, but somehow finds a way of working itself out in the process.

What drew me into this book more than the story itself, though, is the manner in which it is told.  There is a very dry, witty, humor to King’s writing, especially through some elements of fantasy that she threads throughout the story. 

For instance, Lucky continuously observes a swarm of ants reacting to events in his life.  Their responses are most often amusing, and offer subtle, yet straightforward, insight into Lucky’s character. 

In addition, Lucky has dreams throughout the book in which he travels to the Vietnamese jungle to locate his grandfather.  He speaks to his grandfather each night through these dreams, and often wakes up with objects pulled straight from the dream into his reality. 

All of this bizarre craft makes Everybody Sees the Ants a book that will make you think long after you finish the story.  It is bullying story meets family drama meets war story meets fantasy meets light romance.  And it is worth reading.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds weirdly amazing. I'll have to add it to my list! Missing your voice. Hope all is well