Maureen's Reviews > The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
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Mar 08, 11

Read in January, 1995, read count: 2

So there is this show on the Travel Channel where this guy goes to exotic places and eats foods that would make most Americans barf, and he was in Madagascar eating bugs and antelope entrails and his wife, who travels with him, "got" to help the women do all the work of cooking this nasty-smelling stew and and serving the men while they sat on a blanket and told stories, and the show reminded me so much of the scene where Rita and Tendai eat their first meal in Resthaven that I had to go to the library to see if this awesome story held up like I remembered it. The answer is yes, it does. Something I didn't realize before was how good the pacing of the novel is - Nancy Farmer moves the action along, never spending too long in one location, but the story never feels rushed. I'm surprised this hasn't been made into a children's movie yet; it has a good structure for a screenplay, employs African folklore that hasn't been touched by Disney (The Lion King doesn't count) and has a genuine happy ending to boot.

As a kid's book, this should be five stars, but as an adult I need to give it a four. Unlike E.L. Konigsberg, who has a style so unique that it stil appeals to me now, Farmer's prose is clearly written for young readers, at a level similar to Harry Potter. It made me think that maybe I shouldn't give Stephanie Meyer such a hard time for her lousy writing style- the difference between writing for smart 12 year olds and mediocre 14 year olds isn't so big.
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