Thursday, June 30, 2005

I Read Two Good Books! Two!

I am on a roll--one good book after another.

I finally read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-timeby Mark Haddon. This book has received lots and lots of buzz, deservedly so. The narrator is an autistic teenager who sets himself the task of learning who killed his neighbor's dog and learns a whole lot he wasn't expecting. His is a truly unique voice, and while I have no way of knowing whether or not the author has given us a true portrayal of an autistic person's world, the world he does give us is fascinating.

I've read that this book was originally published as YA and crossed-over to adult, that it was published as an adult book and crossed-over to YA, and that it was published for both audiences simultaneously. There's no reason why both groups shouldn't read and be intrigued by it, but I do wonder what the big attraction is for YAs. Sure there's a very sympathetic teen character, but...well, as I'm writing this all the arguments I was going to make don't seem to work, mainly because they would all pertain equally to adult readers.

Now, Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson seems to be another book that ought to cross-over with adult readers. Though I liked Anderson's earlier book, Speak, I would never have read Prom because of its title. I was not a prom type and I find it a somewhat creepy ritual. However, they were discussing it at one of my listservs so I made the effort.

I loved the book. I thought it was very well done. One of the things I liked best about this book was that Ashley was part of a working class family who was just fine with their lot. In many books, a working class family is something the main character wants to escape and the family is portrayed in such a way that readers agree--get the hell out of there. But Ashley's family, though they couldn't afford much and had a chaotic lifestyle,were loving and seemed happy with working a job that provided just enough to get by. Playing ball, taking care of their kids,
getting together with their family members--I loved spending time with
people who were not angst-ridden. Though Ashley had typical teen embarrassment regarding her family and desire to get away, she is definitely part of that family, too.

I must admit, I wasn't happy with the epilogue, but then I've never read an epilogue I liked. To me they seem as if the author got tired of writing and didn't want to do a real ending for the book.

Still, Prom is a book I think both adults and YAs can enjoy.

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