Thursday, August 30, 2007

Takeoffs and Landings

Hmmm. Did I like this book? I'm still pondering that question more than 12 hours after completing it. Haddix put a lot of emotions and information into a relatively short book and though it was very compelling and well written, it just seemed a bit....jammed in there.

Takeoffs and Landings by one of my favorite youth writers, Margaret Peterson Haddix, is a book of intense family emotion. It is told by two siblings in alternating chapters. Chuck is the overweight, geeky older brother that we learn loves art, but is afraid to show that love. Lori is the self-obsessed younger sister that is completely into boys, friends, and parties, and definitely not into Chuck and his weirdness.

Their mother, a motivational speaker and very much resented by Lori, decides to take Chuck and Lori along for one of her 3 city tours in order for them to spend time together and possibly fix their straining relationship. Along the way, huge, emotion ridden fights ensue between Lori and her mom, while Chuck begins to find himself in art museums, hiding, yet learning and loving. By the end of the novel, the broken family almost seems fixed, which is a feat to do in only 201 pages.

Haddix has a magic about her that enables her to create real emotions in her characters that then feel real in her readers. She did that again in this book and I loved it, however I felt it was very rushed and somewhat strange that after all the intensity in hurt and anger that was portrayed only a few pages before, all is well at the end of the book. It needed a good 50-100 more pages to work out those family problems and make that part of the novel feel realistic to me.

Don't forget about my giveaway for Let Them Eat Cake! You have until Sunday to enter here.


Becky said...

Amanda, what are you doing October 20th? Dewey from Hidden Side of the Leaf is planning a 24 Hour Reading Challenge. I know you missed out on the 48 Hour Reading Challenge because of the move, so this may be a fun opportunity for you. :) You can find out more here:

I am planning on participating. But even if you don't sign up to read, maybe you'll want to be an official cheerleader!

Amanda said...

That's funny Becky! I was a cheerleader in high school (I know, shy little me hehe), so I could definitely do that job, however since I missed the last one, I would rather participate! Thanks for the tip!!

Becky said...

I'm looking forward to it! I think it will be so much fun :) I'm trying to think of a way to phrase this without it sounding completely strange--but I'm glad you're going to be a reader.