Chris's Reviews > As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
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Oct 11, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: adventure, life, light, ya

This is a fun book, in the best sense of the word. Unexpected adventure based on ridiculous happenstance and coincidences piled higher and higher, colorful characters, a light-hearted yet lyrical and effective narrator, and underneath it all a bit of wisdom. I really liked it.

The adventure starts when teenager Ry, on his way across the country to the camp where he is to be a counselor for the summer, opens a neglected letter to find the camp has been cancelled. Within minutes, his train stops in the middle of empty Montana for a mechanical issue, so he decides to sieze the moment to climb a nearby hill in search of cell phone service. And gets stranded as the train continues without him. Unbeknownst to Ry, his parents' cell phone has been stolen while they wander the Carribean in a sail boat, getting blown off course by a storm and delayed by mechanical issues, and his grandfather has no idea where he is or what he's doing due to short-term memory loss after suffering a concussion while house-sitting the dogs at the family's new house. Luckily, Ry wanders across the right stranger, who helps him undertake a quest to first find his way home then locate his missing family.

Some bits I especially liked:

Ry looked at his feet and legs in one of those little shoe mirrors that sat on the floor. The shoes were a metaphor for the decline of western civilization: crappy and glitzy and barely useful, but pretty comfortable. This is the narrator's opinion. Ry didn't think that thought specifically, but he felt as dispirited as if he had.

-----

"So, do you really have errands between Montana and Wisconsin?" he asked Del. Because looking around, he couldn't think what anyone would do here. No offense to North Dakota, but it was pretty subtle so far. There were a lot of green fields, with ponds and waterfowl, sometimes a bright yellow field. There were wide-open spaces and a lonely kind of green monotonous peacefulness that he knew his mother would really get off on. If she could go for a hike with the dogs, and if she coul find a good cup of coffee. But he was still young and preferred some stimulation. Other human beings, for example. Other young human beings. Maybe groups of them, though even one or two would be a start.

"Not errands, exactly," said Del. "Just people I like to visit when I can."

"Where do they live?" asked Ry.

"I have a couple of friends in St. Paul," said Del. "And a friend down in San Juan that I might drop in on."

"San Juan?" said Ry. "In Puerto Rico? I wouldn't call that 'on the way.'"

"Just depends on how you look at it," said Del. "Once you leave home, anything can be on the way."

-----

Ry thought he could hear the sound of the surf and sat up to find out whether he could see the ocean. The sound turned out to be coming from a blowtorch. Everett, in a Hawaiian shirt, his skinny legs, and flip-flops, was weeding his patio. With some kind of blowtorch-flamethrower device.

-----

The sea was magnificent. But then there was the deepness and the vastness of it, and the itsy-bitsyness of their boat. It wasn't seasickness Ry felt. This was more akin to panic. He had an intense longing to be on shore, any shore. He would like to be moving from the shore toward the center of a substantial continent. Just think of it like an Imax movie, he said to himself. An Imax movie times four or five or six, a screen in every direction. It didn't help.
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