I never thought that a book about a deer in the woods could be such a page-turner.
One of my friends described the book as beautiful. Another told me iI never thought that a book about a deer in the woods could be such a page-turner.
One of my friends described the book as beautiful. Another told me it was "quite good." And I first came across it referenced in a YA book when I was in middle school, in which the narrator claimed it was much better than the Disney version.
I agree with all of the above.
I first quickly flipped through to make sure that the animals actually talked, since I have a hard time making it through books without any dialog. They do, and their discussion characterizes their individual species well. I loved the kindness and respect with which the animals seemed to treat one another by default, humoring one another's weaknesses and foibles. At the same time, there is an undercurrent of the danger and harshness of the natural world, as birds and smaller rodents are occasionally killed by fox and ferrets.
But the main point of tension comes between those who live in the forest and the humans who encroach upon their very lives. The human threat looms much larger in this book than it does in the movie; the scene in which Bambi's mother is shot is a virtual blood bath, harrowing in its sense of entrapment. Indeed, it reminded me of a war story in which the enemy's soldiers had discovered and surrounded your hideout. Perhaps it is because of this harsh reality that Bambi's father instills in him the ideal that the only way to remain safe is to be alone:
"But of all his teachings this had been the most important; you must live alone, if you wanted to preserve yourself, if you understood existence, if you wanted to attain wisdom, you had to live alone."
Which is quite different from the overall feeling one takes away from the Disney movie, which is filled with cheerful sidekicks and the theme that "love is a song that never ends."
This sense of aloneness permeates the book and is perhaps the most heartbreaking aspect of it. We see Faline's pain and confusion when Bambi decides, after a heady courtship, that he's "not sure" if he loves her anymore. We see Gobo's naivete when he returns from the human world believing that he has nothing to fear from it -- and the way this sets him apart from the other deer, so that he is no longer really one of them or truly domestic. One of the most poignant scenes in the book is one in which a fox tries to convince a hunting dog that he has become a traitor by allying himself with the humans; the dog's insistence that the human is the bringer of all good things, and that he is not alone in his decision to cross over to his side.
There's also a quiet spirituality about the piece, as Bambi's father tells him that there is "another" who is higher than both humans and the forest creatures.
I found this book at a library booksale and probably paid a quarter for it. I didn't know until I read it this weekend what a treasure I had on my bookshelf. ...more
This was so beautifully written, and I love the idea of doing a memoir in verse. It seemed the perfect format to tell this story, to assemble hundredsThis was so beautifully written, and I love the idea of doing a memoir in verse. It seemed the perfect format to tell this story, to assemble hundreds of snapshots that make up a life.
Of all the poems, I liked those about Jaqueline's upbringing as a Jehovah's Witness, the ones about her siblings, and the ones about her discovery of her identity as a writer the most. The ones about her baby brother broke my heart (and I really wanted to know who the baby's father was, but that probably wasn't of concern to Jacqueline as a child and so it is never addressed.) The photos at the end of Jacqueline's family are a nice touch, too.
This book really made me want to write a collection of poems about my own life, and I think it could be used well in writing classes. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that it didn't leave me feeling totally blown away, but I could see why it has received so much praise and acclaim, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it take home the Newbury this year. ...more
This book is so adorable. Sophie Blackall's writing and illustrations complement each other perfectly -- warm, playful, and matter-of-fact. I love thaThis book is so adorable. Sophie Blackall's writing and illustrations complement each other perfectly -- warm, playful, and matter-of-fact. I love that the little boy's parents answer his question without hesitation. And the ending is the best!...more
For a book about a girl who is kidnapped and forced into pornography, this book just wasn't as SCARY as I expected it to be.
Perhaps this is because DrFor a book about a girl who is kidnapped and forced into pornography, this book just wasn't as SCARY as I expected it to be.
Perhaps this is because Draper treats the details of exactly what happens during Diamond's confinement so sensitively, which I can understand in a YA book, but it also deflated the tension a bit. Diamond is drugged before the abuse starts so you never really get to see her realization that she's made a mistake; you never get to see the man's transformation from charming to abusive. The story also cuts away to her classmates in a dance class often, following their own lives in the week that follows her disappearance. They have their own problems to deal with, and they don't seem quite as jarred by her disappearance as one would expect -- especially her best friend, who spends most of those days supporting another mutual friend who is having trouble with her boyfriend.
There are a lot of issues crammed into this book -- abduction, rape, dating violence, incarcerated parents, etc. The dance motif is well done, although sometimes the dance teacher comes across as a little too wise and benevolent. What I found most interesting about the book was its examination about how sexual violence exists on a continuum -- within the course of the story we see boys/men who are respectful of women and refuse to participate in their objectification in any way, right down to deleting racy photos sent to their cell phones. Then we see an abusive boyfriend who (view spoiler)[sends provocative photos of his girlfriend to his whole contacts list to shame her (hide spoiler)], which is essentially an stepping stone toward the furthest end of the spectrum in the pedophile/pornographer who has kidnapped and abused Diamond.
With something like this, which would totally rip a girl's world apart, I really wanted to see more of the aftermath and recovery. Getting out physically is not the same as getting over it, and while the book acknowledges this, I felt that too much of the story was left untold by closing the curtain without letting the reader in on that journey.
Still, this is an important topic, certainly a worthwhile cautionary tale, and also important for anyone to remember -- many of the girls/women you see in pornography did not arrive there by any sort of "choice" we would recognize. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more