Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: When You Reach Me

This is children's literature, which I read aloud to Sam. It's very good children's literature, and all along I was hoping it would be more, but in the end, I have to put it on the children's shelf. There's a lot to like here: a time travel puzzle, a late-70's setting, tons of L'Engle references, the $20,000 Pyramid, and some nice sixth-grade emotional politics. It all has a purpose, even Dick Clark, and comes together in a really nice way. The climactic scene is very well written, for one. And the title character learns important stuff in a subtle way, so there's a moral but you can ignore it easily enough, which is important. Still, for all the intricacies of the plot, it was just a hair on the side of condescending (do children really need to be told how you can be in two places at once with time travel THAT many times?), and as an adult I was able to pick up on what was going on rather early. It was good for Sam to be forced to read through a book that looks at the world the way a girl looks at the world -- he got a little antsy sometimes but the nice plot convergence at the end made it worth it for him. Some people have overrated this book. I still think A Wrinkle in Time was better.

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