Do you want to talk about it?
I read it first on New Year’s Eve, and then again immediately the next day, and I keep returning to sections of it, have found it difficult to shake off. It was strange to find myself completely incapable of committing to any other book for over a week after reading this one.
It’s gotten a lot of buzz, so maybe you know the set-up: it’s the story of five-year-old Jack and his mother, who have been imprisoned in one small room for Jack’s entire life. Even longer, for his brave, broken, amazingly persevering mother.
“We have thousands of things to do every morning, like give Plant a cup of water in Sink for no spilling, then put her back in her saucer on Dresser. Plant used to live on Table but God’s face burned a leaf of her off. She has nine left, they’re the wide of my hand with furriness all over, like Ma says dogs are. But dogs are only TV. I don’t like nine. I find a tiny leaf coming, that counts as ten.”
It’s Jack’s voice that cuts my heart to bits: I don’t think any book I’ve ever read has fostered such a strong visceral, emotional response in me—what I mean is that I kept having to put it down and go scoop up one of my children. The overwhelming tenderness. The ache.
I’m yearning to talk about it but I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so if you’d like to discuss it in the comments, I’m there.
What We’re Up to These Days
Booknotes: The Blue Castle
The Home Epic
Photos from my SCBWI talk on middle-grade and chapter books