Kessia Robinson's Reviews > Whirligig

Whirligig by Paul Fleischman
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Apr 09, 12

did not like it

Paul Fleishchman's Whirligig explores what happens when Brent, a discontented high school student, drives home drunk after a disappointing party, attempts to kill himself, and kills another person instead--a young woman with a bright future. He meets with the girl--Lea's--mother, who asks him, as a type of penance, to create four whirligigs and place them in the four corners of the United States, and Brent sets off to do so. On the way, he faces his guilt, learns how to make whirligigs, learns about stars and geography and animals, and makes a few friends. More than that, though, this book explores consequences--the consequences to the things we do that we don't anticipate and maybe are never even aware of, both good and bad. There is the negative aspect of Lea's death, but also the positive. The book also covers, unbeknown to Brent, the positive effects his whirligigs have had on other people, from a young woman looking for romance, to a young father searching for a moment's peace, to a young boy exhausted with his parents' high expectations, to a grandmother and granddaughter who need to remember the good in people. This book is unusual, as Brent's narrative of creating the Whirligigs is interrupted by the narratives of the experiences of those who benefited from them, in no particular order. in that way, it's a postmodern narrative and sort of like a whirligig itself. This is a book I think youth from 14-18 could enjoy. I myself enjoyed it and its exploration of consequences and the interconnectedness of the world and all of our actions.
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