Jordan Rigsby's Reviews > Summerland

Summerland by Michael Chabon
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's review
Nov 14, 11

Summerland is a book that takes you on a magical adventure that excites your imagination. Michael Chabon uses every page to take his readers into a world that most of us haven’t been in or thought about since childhood. It is obvious that Chabon is not normally a children’s writer, but a very talented adult writer who chose to show his imagination in a book focused toward children, but that can be enjoyed by adults as well. The story is one random, sporadic, wonderful rollercoaster of imagination and legend that takes one back and reminds us how to believe in fairies and giants again.
The main character is Ethan Feld, who lives on an Island off the coast of Washington with his dad. His mother had died a few years before, and his father, following a dream, moved them to Clam Island. His father is an engineer who is developing a type of material that is impenetrable, and doesn’t react to anything. He uses this material to create an envelope for a type of blimp. His father loves baseball, along with a most of the island. Ethan is on a team called the Roosters, along with his best friend Jennifer T. However unlike his father and Jennifer T, Ethan does not love baseball, he wants to quit but feels like it would disappoint his father too much.
The story really begins when Ethan meets the farisher’s, little fairie Indian people who live in the woods in Summerland. Summerland, where they play baseball and it never rains, is a gall, a place that joins two worlds. In this story the universe is held up by a giant tree, on this tree there are four branches; The Middling, Summerland, the Winterlands, and then a fourth world that has been lost. Ethan’s father is soon kidnapped by Coyote, who is the “Changer”. He has been around since anyone can remember, and is always trying to change things. He lies, cheats, and steals, and now is trying to bring the universe to an end so he can start it over. He needs Mr. Feld to create him a substance that can hold the most vile and poisonous substance in the Universe, Nothing. The story consists of Ethen, Jennifer T. and Thor start an adventure that will take them to giants, to be kidnapped by fairishers, to meet wearats, and wearfoxes. They become a makeshift traveling baseball league, because it is impossible to go through the summerlands without playing baseball, they call themselves the Shadowtails. They make their way through all of their adventures to Murmury well, the well that feeds the tree that holds the universe. Coyote plans to poison it. In the end Ethan saves the day by hitting a home run that releases Old Mr. Wood from where Coyote trapped him in the fourth world. The release lets out a flood that heals the world.
Michael Chabon did an amazing job writing this novel. It was almost like he took all the myths and legions he could find, and then combined them with imaginations of an entire class of six year olds. This combined with his beautiful prose and style; you get a book that makes you feel as if you are a child again. I hope that one day I not only have the talent, but the imagination to be able to create a novel or piece half as amazing as this.

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