by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
I read this book for the YA Through the Decades challenge (book 1!).
I loved the perpetual question asked in the book: how would they be challenged next? There was no question it would happen, nor did it feel excessive or overly dramatic. It was just the way life was in the northern Florida swamp. Yet even though the question of survival was always on Jody's family's mind, it was never so sharp and immediate as it was in the last chapter, where Jody ran away from home and discovered his own truth: in the end, when one is hungry, animals must be food. It is eat, or die - no questions asked, no morality, just truth.
I'm listening to another book, Farm City, that discusses this idea, but clearly in our "civilized" world, it is a choice to eat animals for food. The author embarks upon a month-long experiment to see if she can successfully feed herself on her own garden and animals for one month. She talks about how she wasn't sure if she could kill her rabbits, being mammals like her, but discovers in the hungry moment that it didn't matter that much. Food is food, and she is grateful for it. I think perhaps with Jody being so emotionally tied to Flag that he has crossed a line, but I suspect, had it been necessary, Jody would have been able to eat Flag's meat, with appreciation for what Flag did for him.
Oh, and can I just say? You know you've really made it when your book gets its own publishing imprint. Not to mention its own Wikipedia entry.
- Awesomeness: 7 - never ponderous even in its tome-like length, this is a great survival story.
- Wordsmithing: 8 - Rawlings does a spectacular job evoking the language and attitudes of the people of rural Florida of this time period, but the true magic is in her description of the swamp.
- Personages: 7 - several characters were flat, but Jody and his family are multifaceted and fascinating to read.
- Mesmerizitude: 8 - I found myself reading bits of it under the covers on my iPhone in the middle of the night.
Labels: 2010, review, teen, ya through the ages