Monday, February 6, 2012
There is a bit of a mystery in Split that helps to carry us through the very hard core look at familial abuse. I loved this book— it kept me engrossed and involved. My only complaint was that by the last third in the book I began to feel that I was going through all 12 steps methodically. Almost felt like a medical textbook with instructions on how to face and solve your own problems. Though it does not relent, it also does not get any less honest. The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill, on the other hand, seemed to be a fairly tortured metaphor and one I gave up trying to figure out. It was also a touch unrelenting as the metaphor got more and more convoluted. I enjoyed the read, but Split eclipsed my memory of this book.
I agree that Split was an intense and engaging read from start to finish. As dark as some parts of the story became, I had to know what was going to happen to the characters in the end of the book. The book’s major flaw is the fact that it is obvious the author is female, despite trying to convey the inner thoughts of a teenage male. Too many details about what people are wearing, the hairstyles of the popular girls at school, and the sound a nail polish bottle makes when you shake it. In spite of this, I still bought the whole painful process that the main character, Jace, went through in overcoming his father’s abusive manipulation that he endured his whole life. The ending is tragic and hopeful at the same time. In terms of what type of student I would give this book to, I think it is too intense and disturbing in some places for junior high aged kids. There is also the issue of content (sex and language) that I’m not sure is appropriate for junior high because it is more gratuitous than anything else. High school students would identify with the age and experiences of many of the characters, but again, the sensitive nature of the book would make me hesitant to suggest it for students if I didn’t know their own background and possible experiences with abuse. As I read The Mostly True Story of Jack, I felt throughout the book that it was trying too hard to be mysterious and say something deeper than what it was actually capable of. What is the point of this book? I don’t get it. There are many unanswered questions that take all the way until the very end to figure out, and I stopped caring early on.
On Split: I think I need therapy now.
On The Mostly True Story of Jack: I really wanted to like this book. Really. I tried hard to find a way that I could argue with my colleagues so we would not choose Split and force any more of you to face your own needs for therapy, but I just could not find the book engrossing. I wanted to. Maybe if I had read it first?
I am sorry. Split moves on. Call me if you need to talk after reading it.
Posted by LauraJ at 8:26 PM