Emily McBride's Reviews > Whirligig

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman
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Jan 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, engl-420

I loved this book, although I wished it was longer than 120-ish pages.

Brent Bishop is struggling at a new school, and after rejection at a party, feels depressed enough to try to kill himself by getting into a car accident. Unfortunately, he ends up killing someone else, 18-year-old Lea. At Lea's mother's request, Brent attempts to make restitution by traveling to the four corners of the U.S. (Washington, California, Florida, and Maine) and building and setting up whirligigs in Lea's memory.

Brent's struggle to forgive himself and regain the desire to live seems very real. I can't imagine how hard it would be to get over something like that. As he travels, he meets people who give him insight into what his life can be. I especially liked the passage about how, yes, your bad actions can negatively affect someone's life forever--but so can your good actions.

I liked the interwoven stories about people encountering Brent's whirligigs. To me, these stories connected with Brent's story, my own story, and basically, humanity's story: the story of trying to live life the best we can, which is not always the easy thing to do.
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