Friday, January 16, 2009
Looking for Newbery - Day 22
The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdich was a huge surprise for me -- a delightful surprise, but still a surprise. It was mentioned on at least 3 mock Newbery lists, and then, just this week, as some blogs are starting to make final predictions, The Porcupine Year, is getting a lot of attention again.
This book has been in a TBR pile at my house for a while, but whenever I looked at the cover, I just couldn't make myself continue. My apologies to anyone who loved this cover, but it most definitely didn't appeal to me. But that is the only negative comment I can make about this book.
When I finally got past my cover-phobia, and cracked the book open, it was sheer delight. I was hooked right away with the end pages, displaying a map that helps with both location and sequence of the story (I love when authors do that -- it really helps me as a reader), and the excitement of the first chapter (will they, won't they survive the rapids?).
I am a sucker for well-developed characters, and Erdrich really delivers on that!! Even the porcupine's character is well developed! I was also fascinated by the life of the Ojibwe family that is at the center of this story. Their daily existence, and how they used the natural resources around them was very compelling.
I started reading The Porcupine Year one night, and didn't come up for air until I had finished. It has strong plot, wonderful descriptive language, bad guys, adventure, survival, and great characters. I loved it!
My blog partner, Bill, mentioned during an interview James Preller did with us, that when books win some kind of a Newbery Award, it sometimes brings it to the attention of readers, who otherwise might never have picked up that title to read on their own. The Porcupine Year is a book I hope gets some attention like that this year! It is definitely in my top 5 books this year, and like I said, it was a surprise to me! :)