Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Too old, too young, too ???

This is the second time I have looked at Dominque Paul's The Possibility of Fireflies. I had forgotten the sprinkling of obscenities, the pot smoking, and the datedness of the 1987 setting, which are all reasons that I won't buy it. Might be good at a high school, although it does read more like a memoir that would appeal to people my age. Those aspersions cast, I finished reading it and was impressed by the lyrical quality of the prose. It was one of those sad books, with a dysfunctional mother and sister, an absent father, friends drifting away, and a young girl trying to not only keep herself adrift but move forward with her own life. I will look for other titles by this author, even though this wasn't a good fit for my library.

Ross Collins' Medusa Jones looks like fun but is much too young for my library. I am irrationally irritated by younger books, so can't say much. The pictures in this are fun, and the premise is good (young Ancient Greek Gorgon bullied at school because of her hair eventually makes good and saves the day), but I was disappointed that I won't be able to have another Classics books for my students because this is best suited to the under ten crowd.

Another Classics book that had some promise was Katherine Marsh's The Night Tourist, but it somehow did not hit the right note. Jack Perdu, still mourning his mother, finds a mysterious map to a New York that most mortals don't see-- the underground where the dead still roam until they can make their peace and move on. Mortals are forbidden, but with the help of a young (but dead) girl, he tracks down his mother and finds out the secrets of her life and death. The portrayal of New York City was interesting, and the Latin was flawless, but the depiction of the mythology was a bit strained. If I had read this as a straight fantasy instead of wanting more Greek and Roman mythology books, I might have been okay, so I am going to have my son read this. I must say that I started off on the wrong foot when Jack, a "ninth grade Classics prodigy" is helping a professor translate Ovid's Metamorphoses. Talk about fantasy. I was a Latin teacher in my previous life, and even if Jack's father taught him Latin, this seems a REAL stretch to me. Then I started to worry that Jack would major in Latin and never get a job. I'm still thinking about this title.

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