Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. king
Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their family is fine. And he certainly didn't ask to be the recipient of Nadar McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.
Lucky has a secret—one that helps him wade through the daily dysfunction of his life. Grandad Harry, trapped in the jungles of Laos, has been visiting Lucky in his dreams—and the dreams just might be real: an alternate reality where he can be whoever he wants to be and his life might still be worth living. But how long can Lucky remain in hiding there before reality forces its way inside?
Printz Honor recipient A. S. King's distinctive, smart, and accessible writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you, and then taking a stand against it.
A.S. King has a knack for writing Quirky Characters. His mom, his dad, the bully, his grandfather, Uncle Dave and, Aunt Jodi and Lucky in particular: all are very different from what I am used to.
Squids and Turtles… I love how the boy thinks. How he’s put the people in his life in certain boxes and thinks of them that way and yet all at once he’s is completely right about what he thinks and funny, if veering a little toward the oversimplified. His parents: they not be perfect. It was incredibly frustrating how their talks of doing something as opposed nothing went. There had to be a middle ground, no? At least in the end there’s a reason for their quirks… so now in my mind is a couple trying their best, just not knowing how to go about it.
Mega Quirk: Think of safe places and happy places and one is not likely to come up with a prison camp in jungles of unknown with a grandfather gone missing decades before… but that’s just how Lucky thinks. But it’s in such a place where a version of Lucky that’s sure and confident shows up. (I’m not sure I’m happy about this.) I did appreciate how through this link he gains something.
There be Others... all as quirky as the others. His Uncle is perfect at first… but not so much later. And it’s Lucky’s discovery about him that explains away a lot of Aunt Jodi’s…ergh… quirks. Or Hair, who is perfect and beautiful and confident at night with her crew cut friends and ninja running through parks and yards only later to be whistled to like a lap dog to her mother’s heel. My eyes did buggeth out.
Here’s the thing though: all their quirks have a reason behind them. Am I happy about this… or would I rather have had a bunch of fellows acting the way they did, with no reason in particular? Some of those reasons, by the way: upsetting and unsettling.
I say it again: Unsettling. Despite the unconventional way it's told, there's a lot to take in. Lucky has his issues but he is not alone in that respect. The adults are just as messed up as he is.