Wednesday, June 9, 2010
As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth
I just finished reading As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins for the 48 Hour Book Challenge (this is a pre-dated post). After reading MaryLee's resounding endorsement of this book, I just had to buy it and actually made it my first read this weekend.
I felt a variety of emotions as I read: amused by the story line, fascinated as I got to know the characters, skeptical of the story line, delighted at the way the story is told from different characters' perspectives, frustrated by the story line, total enjoyment of how the dogs' story is told through illustrations and comic-like voice and thought bubbles.
I like the characters in this story a great deal. I especially liked the survivor quality one of the main characters (Ry) develops over time. I also really liked Ry's "savior" and then traveling companion - Del. He truly is a guy who drops everything to focus on a situation that needs to be taken care of, whether it's a loose pipe, rotten flooring, or a control panel on an airplane that stops working mid-flight. Del's inability to admit he was ever wrong, made him stubborn and endearing at the same time. I think many people can relate to the person who has to be right -- you either know that person or you are that person. However, I was more than a little annoyed with Ry's parents who left for a Carribbean sailing trip and left very little information behind for their son to be able to contact them in case of emergency (and he has one emergency after another) - I think the parent in me had a hard time reconciling this type of irresponsible behavior.
So, I pondered all this for a while, since I respect MaryLee's opinion about books and she really thinks that As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth is something quite special.
I read this book as if it were realistic fiction. What if I suspend that belief, and say that this story is right on the edge of believeability?
With that kind of thinking, putting the possibility of the impossible (sort of an insider joke for those of you who have read this story) into play, this book becomes something altogether different than the story I read through my first reader's lens. This becomes a testament, albeit an amusing one in several places, to what can be accomplished with the right attitude. It makes the parents and their decisions less important and more of a plot device. It strengthens my enjoyment of the characters of Ry and Del.
This book grabbed me from the very first pages, when I realized how much trouble Ry had just gotten himself into. As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth is a book I'll be thinking about for a long time to come.