Sunday, December 14, 2008
REVIEW: The White Darkness
McCaughrean, G. (2007). The White Darkness. New York: HarperTempest.
This Printz award winner was first published in England in 2005 by British author Geraldine McCaughrean. This beautiful and challenging read takes readers and fourteen-year-old Simone on an unexpected and arduous odyssey to Antarctica. The 373 page novel features wonderful characterizations, from the masterfully depicted insanity of one character, to the betrayal of a love interest and then to the well-researched portrayal of the historic figure of Captain Oates as an imagined friend and coping mechanism.
The novel features references to Greek myths, historic facts and some works of literature that McCaughrean has delved into before in her previous writings.
This book is challenging not only due to its use of vocabulary, but also because of the dangerous quest naïve Simone is recruited to make. About midway through my reading of the book, I found myself asking, “Is it over yet? Please let this end.” but at the same time, I did not want it to end.
Activities to do with the book:
Research projects on Antarctica, Antarctic explorers, paranoia, coping mechanisms, antibiotics, pollution, Symmes’s Theory etc.
Dramatic inquiry with visiting the Antarctic.
“I have been in love with Titus Oates for quote a while now—which is ridiculous, since he’s been dead for ninety years. But look at it this way. In ninety years I’ll be dead, too, and then the age difference won’t matter” (p. 1).
“I’m planning on being older in a year or two” (p. 363).