Saturday, August 14, 2010

Literary Feast Discussion: Mockingbird (The End!)

Hello again, dear readers!  Monica and I have zoomed through the end of Mockingbird. Despite the initial angst, we both definitely enjoyed the book.  You can see our specific comments below.  And we'd love to read what you have to say about the story as well.  But be prepared readers, there be spoilers here!

Shel: I was surprised Caitlin's dad was originally so hesitant to complete the chest. I had visions of them sawing wood, hammering nail..doing other construction=y type stuff...dancing with sugarplum fairies, I don't know. But then even when Dad was FINALLY on board, we didn't really see much of the process.

Monica: I laughed. So hard. When she showed up at school covered in slashes and gashes from trying to cut down a tree with a quarter. I know I shouldn’t laugh, really, but picturing Mrs. Whatshername’s face as Caitlin blithely announces that she “was cutting” is just too funny.

Shel: I know! I thought that whole section was wonderful. Caitlin was so determined and proactive. It really set an energetic pace. I feel like this book has changed to an angst-light diet.

Monica: Thank goodness. I didn't think I would be able to take much more -- and it's always a relief when a book contains healing ideas, rather than just misery.

Shel:  I LOVE the exchange between Josh and Caitlin on page 154: "He turns his head to me and whispers, Loser.
I know, I tell him, but I'm going to keep trying." Cuteness and perseverance alert, Batman!

Monica: You have to wonder what Josh thinks of her at that moment. Because her response makes sense to *me*, but he... must kind of have the wind knocked out of his bullying sails.

Shel: I know and that's part of the fun of that moment.  But speaking of Josh, the playground scene where everyone is all "this is why we hate you, Josh" and then they're like "we do see the potential for good in you, Josh." felt a little forced. I had trouble picturing the kids actually having that conversation.

Monica: Eh. I agree. It makes me wonder if the author has ever seen a group of kids interacting -- maybe the ones she hung out with as a child had really rocking interpersonal skills, but if it was my class, everyone might have kicked some stones around awkwardly with their feet, and then said, "We still sort of think you're okay," and then went and played on the jungle gym.

Shel: I also really, really dislike the author's note. REALLY. I feel like Erskine did an AMAZING job of getting her messages across without ever teetering off into annoying preachy-land. And then there is the note, camped in annoying preachy-land, explaining the messages that were already beautifully articulated in the story. I would have preferred if the story stood alone at the end. Like the cheese that stands alone at the end of the song.

Monica: THANK YOU! I am so glad it wasn't just me. I have decided to ignore it altogether and pretend I never read it, because seriously? "Ignore and ignorance share the same root"? Sigh. I was much happier when I was coming to those conclusions on my own, not being walloped over the head with them.

And there you have it, few but beloved readers.  Our last words about Kathryn Erskine's Mockingbird.

Of course, these don't have to be the last words if you decide to post a comment or two, we can keep the conversation going.  And you all should know my now, I'm always happy to talk books more.

Also, don't wander to too far away.  We'll be announcing our next literary feast book within the next few days.  I won't tell you the title yet.  But I will say that three are dead and the number four figures prominently.

Cryptic enough for you?

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