As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth
by Lynne Rae Perkins
2010, Green Willow books
He’ll Get There.
The inside flap doesn’t give much away about this gem of a book. I’m trying to retrace my steps that first led me to this book. I had read something, somewhere in the great internet world that made me first put the book in my Amazon cart, then look to see if it was in at my local library. Was it in the info about BEA? My favorite blogs? I’m stopping just short of searching my own internet history.
Library! Score! I was so pleased that a book released April 27, 2010 was there! I’m not saying my library is not current, but it’s not my normal experience to find a newly released book that I had to read at the library waiting for me! Usually if it’s new, it’s checked out by someone asap, with a wait list to boot!
Checked out at 2:00 on Saturday. Done by 2:00 on Sunday. Also not my normal experience. I am always on the look-out for the next best book (hence the blog title), but that leads me to flit from book to book, sometimes as many as eight, back and forth until I finish one. I am looking for the next one, almost at all times. I could not stop reading this book. I loved it!
“It’s just a hypothetical situation,” said Del. “It’s pretty unlikely that it would ever actually come up.” (p. 98)
Main character Ry, is on, what turns out to be, a mis-adventure. The book is divided into four parts, with great chapter titles like, ” It seemed to Ry at this moment that having a cell phone in Montana was like having a canoe on Mars…” On his way to summer camp, he opens a letter. When he gets off the train to call his grandfather to ask advise about the letter, he misses getting back on the train before it goes away. And so the beginning of the mis-adventures begin…
Train, missing boot, black eye, new friends, car, airplane. How many things can go wrong for one person?
Somehow Ry has the good fortune to meet Del, who seems to major in damsels in distress and damsels are not limited to women in Ry’s case.
I loved the descriptive language of characters, of setting, of emotions. Below are a couple memorable quotes:
“And then they were going, backing out of the driveway, waving good-bye, rolling down the street. Houses, streets, minutes, and miles came and went, all ordinary enough. Ry could not identify the odd sensation he had as they rolled along. Maybe it was what a lobster feels when it finds itself in a pot of water that started out cold enough but it seems to be starting to boil.” p. 99
Love it! What a great description. I think I’ve had that odd sensation many a time-but never described it so wonderfully!
Here’s another quote that describes one of the people Del and Ry encounter on their journey…
“Their host was Carl. Wooly coils of silvery-white hair forested the back and sides of his head, thinning to a zone of barren scrub at the tree line of the shiny dome of his head.” p. 111
Right before Ry’s mis-adventure begins, his family had moved to a new hometown. When he and Del get there, no one is home.
“Then he opened them and looked around at the familiar furniture of his life that had moved into this house and taken up residence. He was glad to see it all–the lamps, the knickknacks, the throw pillows. The steadfast couch welcomed him like a childhood friend.” p. 153
So what would any teenager do when he comes home to an empty home? No house-sitting grandfather, no dogs, no parents. I think most would stay put. But Ry (and Del) decide they should go in search of the missing.
So next comes the plane. Then the boat(s).
“And so it went. Back and forth, side to side, tilt this way, tilt that way. The deep tilting was called ‘heeling.’ Having a name other than ‘tipping over’ made it seem less dangerous, more like a normal thing that happened all the time, that was okay if it happened.” p. 272
There is something magical that happens as you read this book. The simple line art that you find throughout the book, the language. This is going to win an award. I sense another Newbery for author Lynne Rae Perkins. I haven’t read Criss Cross, her first winner, but you’d better believe I’ll be adding to my TBR pile.
So much more I want to say about this book, but I must run off to the school board meeting…Fortunately it’s just a short walk away.