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.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

DYING TO KNOW YOU by Aidan Chambers

copyright date: April 2012
primarily marketed for: young adults (14 and up)

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers was a book I couldn’t wait to read because of what I’d read about it.  Negative reviews said things about it being narrated by the voice of an older man, an eccentric author.  They said teens wouldn’t be able to relate to his voice.  I was sure that wouldn’t be true.  Positive reviews said things about what a powerful story the book told. 

Having read the book, I have determined that it is definitely not the kind of story everyone would enjoy.  It is a very philosophical story.  If you are not an intellectual sort of reader, this would not be the book for you.  However, if you are the kind of person who wonders about his place in the world, about why people act the way they do, about his purpose in life, then the is most definitely the book for you.  You will be as charmed by Karl as I was. 

Karl’s story is largely told through the voice of an author who his girlfriend admires.  Karl seeks out the author in an effort to convince the author to help him write his thoughts and feelings in a manner that would impress his girlfriend, who has no idea about his dyslexia. 

The eccentric, aged author narrating the story does not move the focus from Karl’s story to his own story, but rather provides a wisdom in looking at Karl’s situation that we wouldn’t get as readers if the story were told in Karl’s voice, from his point of view.

As the author helps Karl find ways to express his thoughts and feelings for his girlfriend, he ultimately helps Karl deal with loss and find his purpose in life. 

This is not a light read by any means, but it is the kind of story that will stick to your ribs and fill you up. 

Reading Threads:
Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Although this is not a reading thread, I have to mention that this book reminds of the movie Finding Forrester (one of my favorites)

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