Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"I Am Your Father, Luke"

A Reading Fool said she'd be looking for my further comments on Rowan Hood An Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest by Nancy Springer (whom I've met a couple of times over the years). That was all the encouragement I needed.

Now I didn't read Rowan Hood. I listened to it on CD. I believe that listening to a book is a legitimate way of "reading" because you are taking in content, the author is still communicating with you. But I also think it's different from reading. I've wondered if I've liked listening to some books (say The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane) more than I would have liked reading them. And I had to give up listening to Count Karlstein because it was read by a full cast and I couldn't follow what was going on without dialogue tags. That wouldn't have happened if I'd been reading.

But what often happens when I'm listening to books on CD in the car is that I get the reaction of my traveling companion, when I have one. In this case, I did, and he had some very interesting things to say.

Right off the bat, Rowan comes home to find her house burned and mom toast. "Just like Star Wars!" the other occupant of the car observed. That was a very big plus as far as he was concerned. In fact, he found any number of Star Wars connections while listening to Rowan Hood, though, personally, I think equating the wolf/dog Rowan takes up with to Chewbacca was a bit of a stretch. But, yeah, there's a daddy quest and a sort of rebel group opposing the bad guys who have all the power.

I think the reason he saw these connections (other than that he really likes Star Wars) is that both stories do follow a traditional journey/quest format, complete with the call that Colleen at Chasing Ray was talking about a while back. There's nothing like finding your family dead and your home gone to send you out on the road.

I noted more mundane things about the story. For instance, you know how in romantic movies the male and female leads often have these misunderstandings before they finally get together? Well, you got that kind of thing here, except that the misunderstandings were between a daughter and father. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm just saying.

Springer did a good job of making the action of the story around the child characters instead of just drifting into letting Robin Hood take over. That could easily have happened with such a powerful and legendary figure. And I liked Rowan's scooby gang quite a bit. I definitely would consider listening to the sequel on another long car trip.


Miriam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miriam said...

Star Wars? I never thought of that. But then, I rarely make that kind of connection when I read. I guess I'm just not that deep a thinker. But what I am really most interested in hearing from you now is what you think of the sequels. I had high hopes after reading this one, because I think Nancy Springer created interesting characters and a pretty tight storyline. There was a nice balance between the tense moments and the more mundane portions of daily life. The characters were believable (well, Lionel a little less so than the others). But one of the sequels introduces a character that worked less well for me. This also could be an instance where listening on tape might have made a difference. What might have been glossed over in print became annoying in audio. But that may also have been because the character is annoying. But I can't say too much more, because it would give away a major plot point. (By the way, lest I sound too negative, I love her books about Morgan Le Fay and Mordred.)

(First post deleted to fix typo.)

Gail Gauthier said...

I liked Lionel. I've read some reviews for Lionclaw, which sounds as if it focuses on him, and they were mixed.