Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNoWriMo Research: Sparrow Road

Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor: A literary fiction book set maybe late in the 70s/early in the 80s where a 12-year-old girl is forced to spend her summer at a remote art colony in the country by her mom who may have other motives than just ruining her citified daughter's summer.  POV: 1st person limited, past tense.

This book has a pretty unique setup, and the result is that it's a children's book where the protagonist/narrator never really interacts with any other kids.  To me at age 12, this would have been pretty awesome, especially being out in the country and with all these interesting artists.  The author, Sheila O'Connor, recommends against this kind of setup because publishers don't like it and don't think it will sell.  She's a also a writing teacher in college, graduate school, and elementary and secondary schools, though, so she probably convinced the publisher that enough libraries and teachers would buy this book that they could make up their costs. 

The girl in it starts writing stories and learns quite a bit about knowing and expressing herself, and sometimes kids need to read about someone doing something as an example before they can do it themselves.  The mysterious back story is also interesting and a bit wrenching.  I like stories where
  1. not all the grownups are portrayed as stupid and out of touch
  2. some adults are just kind of mean and hard to like
  3. grownups screw up and are given the chance to prove themselves again and do so, but the ongoing struggle isn't all sweet, saccharine, and cut & dried
  4. some adults are great and amazing despite not feeling comfortable around kids, but the kids learn about it and start realizing the value of looking beneath the exterior gruffness of people for their wonderful hearts

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