Thursday, October 27, 2016

"The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island" Brought Out The English Major In Me

I was a big fan of The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy. I liked the way this nontraditional family was so traditional. In an article in the new Horn Book, Sarah Hannah Gomez writes about historical fiction that "dealt with the quotidian and stayed somewhat removed from the world outside. Wars, elections, or social movements were less important to the story than were the day-to-day events and settings." The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher was contemporary rather than historical, but definitely dealt with every day events.

The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island seemed a little choppier. Some of the kids' story lines weren't as clear, and the overarching story about saving the lighthouse was a little heavy for me. Thematically, though, the book is great. These kids are facing change, regular, run-of-the-mill life change. Their summer on beloved Rock Island isn't quite the way it's been in the past, because nothing is ever the same as it was in the past. The Fletcher boys are uncomfortable with what's happening even as they slowly realize these changes aren't so bad.

So many children's books focus on big issues--cancer, disabilities, handicaps, dead parents/siblings/friends, bullying, crime, or racism. Accepting change seems modest in comparison.'s not. We can't hold on to anything, not a single thing. Change is the only constant in our lives. You never enter the same river twice. This is deep stuff, a little issue that is really THE big one. And it's a huge part of The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island.

 To The Lighthouse!

Last weekend I stumbled upon an essay about Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse and thought it would be neat to do some kind of Fletcher/Lighthouse thing.
  • A lighthouse figures prominently in both stories. 
  • The Ramseys are always talking about taking a boat out to an island. The Fletchers are always talking about taking kayaks to an island.
  • There's an artist in Lighthouse. Someone claims to be an artist in Family Fletcher
  • The Family Fletcher is about the passage of time. Time passes in To the Lighthouse.
  • The lighthouse symbolizes change coming to something unchanging in Family Fletcher. I don't have a clue what it symbolizes in To the Lighthouse.
But I didn't actually try to do an entire Fletcher/Lighthouse post because, as you can probably tell, though I have read To the Lighthouse, my understanding of it is pretty shallow. Still...lighthouses! 

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