Friday, May 10, 2013
by Sally Gardner
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2013, c2012.
Young Adult, Dystopian/alternate history. 279 pages.
What if the football hadn’t gone over the wall. On the other side of the wall there is a dark secret. And the devil. And the Moon Man. And the Motherland doesn’t want anyone to know. But Standish Treadwell — who has different-colored eyes, who can’t read, can’t write, Standish Treadwell isn’t bright — sees things differently than the rest of the "train-track thinkers." So when Standish and his only friend and neighbor, Hector, make their way to the other side of the wall, they see what the Motherland has been hiding. And it’s big...
I really don't know what to say about this book. The first time I started reading it I was kind of tired and the book made absolutely no sense. In fact, I felt like I was on something that was truly messing with my brain. However, the cover literally haunted me as did the summary I had read. So I decided to try one more time before turning it in. I am so glad I did. Standish Treadwell is an amazing character. He is flawed in many ways, but that is what makes him so human and endearing. I was literally sucked into his world and was rooting for him clear to the very end. I may have even shed a tear or two at the end. Warning: I would not suggest this for anyone under 16, possibly even 18. Standish does have a tendency to use some very naughty words quite often. There are some rather violent moments as well. Also, there is a specific scene at the end that might offend certain people. That aside, this was a unique and brilliantly written novel. If you have read other books by Gardner don't expect this to be the same. I have only read two, The Red Necklace and I, Coriander - both of which I loved, but in very different ways. And don't forget to pay attention to the subtle drawings in the margins. The portrayal of flies, rats and maggots is quite fascinating.