Julie Suzanne's Reviews > Dust

Dust by Arthur Slade
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's review
Mar 04, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: classroom-books-grade-7-8, historical-fiction, sci-fi, coming-of-age
Read in March, 2009

** spoiler alert ** The cover enticed me, and I thought it would be set in the Dust Bowl. Not really. I was surprised to find it science fiction. A mysterious, perhaps soul-less man comes to town and mesmerizes people in order to distract them from the fact that he's taking the local children in order to gather their souls and essence (a kind of dust).

Deals with the theme of responsibility, (childhood wonder vs. reality/responsibility) very creatively--had me thinking, wondering. The protagonist is "on the cusp" of becoming an adult and therefore barely able to maintain his sense of wonder, belief in that which seems absurd, and so a man/being who exploits the "adultness" of the town can safely (maybe) reveal the awful truth of what he's doing to him, sure that as soon as the boy matures (like in a day or two?) he won't remember or even believe what he's being told. The few adults who have not succumbed to man's mind drug cannot solve the mystery/crime because they cannot believe in preposterous things, such as the truth. Interesting....

My son accused me of being a "non-believer" in all of these things he seems so naive to believe. I sigh. I thought about that often as I loathed these parents, but to whom I could also relate. Very thought-provoking in a simple way.

I believe its intended audience is middle school kids, but I can't see any of my students bearing with it. I found out, after reading this, that the girl who borrowed it and raved about it had actually given up after the 2nd chapter and didn't want to admit it. I liked it as an adult.

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