At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains.
Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear.
But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.
Clare Vanderpool, recipient of the 2011 Newbery Award, is a resident of Wichita, Kansas. She has a degree in English and Elementary Education and enjoys reading, going to the pool with her children, the television show Monk, and visiting the bookstores in her town.
Sabe o que é não conseguir parar de chorar? Foi uma corrente de lágrimas que começou e não parou mais, e sem nenhum impacto em específico. Não foi um acontecimento TCHAM - chorei. Foi a realização do todo. A correlação com as minhas próprias experiências. O apego aos personagens e ao universo. Essa história é incrivelmente linda, bem escrita, tocante, inocente e que te pega de surpresa. A narrativa é deliciosa, poética e misteriosa. Eu tô é chocado.
Eu me apaixonei desde o começo. Os personagens são fantásticos, excêntricos e tridimensionais. Cada um com uma voz distinta, transbordando inocência e defeitos que os tornam humanos. Deu gosto de conhecer cada um deles. Tive a sensação logo de cara de que seria uma história emocionante e que amaria cada minuto — a escrita entregou isso. Early é diferente de tudo que já li, e tive a oportunidade de amá-lo, odiá-lo e querer pegá-lo no colo várias vezes (os melhores personagens fazem isso com você). Jack também se tornou cada vez mais profundo e adorável ao longo da história, e me apeguei muito a ele.
Quando comecei, e estava lendo sobre a relação da família do protagonista e os seus primeiros momentos no internato, eu me senti em casa. Acolhido. A trama começou de forma perfeita. E então Jack sai em sua aventura, e ela toma uma proporção diferente. De repente, me assustei com o fato de que o livro havia se tornado uma jornada, estranhei até (achei que se passaria toda no internato). Mas toda a ligação dessa jornada com a história de Pi foi um elemento muito bem-vindo e muito bem aproveitado. Essa questão lúdica, quase beirando o realismo mágico, faz o livro ser único.
Fui cético por volta dos 40% do livro, quando começam a acontecer coisas um pouco absurdas, ou grandes e fantasiosas demais. A partir daí senti uma vibe que me remeteu muito ao desenho "Over The Garden Wall": sombrio, bizarrinho, mas com humor. Acho que, no fundo, eu esperava algo mais "sóbrio", e estava começando a desanimar — a criança dentro de mim ainda não estava desperta. Algumas coisas também me pareceram convenientes demais, mas acho que essa era a intenção do autor. Juro que foi o momento em que pensei em dar 4 estrelas pro livro. Porém... chegou a conclusão. E meu chão se foi.
Quando tudo se interliga, quando tudo faz sentido, quando os nós são atados e a magia toda do livro fica explícita... não tem como não se emocionar. Não importa se você se relaciona ou não com alguma coisa que os personagens estão passando. A mensagem em si, e tudo o que ela representa, é forte demais. A partir daí, meu amigo... Foram 10 capítulos chorando sem parar. Cada frase me marcava, a tocava em um ponto dentro de mim. Foi fantástico.
Acho que já deu pra entender, né? Esse livro é maravilhoso, e vocês precisam ler agora. É profundo, envolvente, dinâmico e mágico. Surpreendentemente mágico.
Reading Navigating Early, I totally see why Clare Vanderpool won the Newbery last year. Hers are books that fall within that special category of middle grade fiction that speak as well to adults as to children, capturing not only the magic of childhood but also the hard hitting realizations of growing up. Even more impressively, I have to say her skillful yet subtle exploration of the themes of friendship, loss, and self discovery really snuck up on me here, and only serves to make this even more powerful.
What impressed me most of all though, is that this is a book with an incredible amount of depth. There are so many things going on here I'm hard pressed to explain it all, so I guess I'll start with the obvious - on the surface, Navigating Early is a story of friendship between a new kid at a Maine boarding school and a fellow autistic student as they go on a journey together, all the while discovering things about themselves. Even though that alone would've made this a worthy read for me, beyond that, Navigating Early is really two character studies written in parallel, and that's where this book really shines. The narrator, John Baker, is dealing with the recent death of his mother, while his friend Early Auden is dealing with the death of his brother Fisher. Let’s just say there’s something really compelling about John’s growth as a character, from his initial reaction to his mother’s death - a mix of grief and guilt because he failed to look after her - to slow acceptance over the course of the story as he learns more about the meaning of loss from Early. And there’s something equally compelling about Early, outcast despite or maybe because he’s the younger brother of the school’s dead golden boy, even though Early's convinced Fish is not really dead. So the two go on an expedition into the wilds of Maine to find Fisher, and the rest is absolutely magic.
Along the way, there’s also a story within a story at work, the story of Pi. First of all, I can’t believe how imaginative Ms. Vanderpool is coming up with a story for an irrational number, but more than that, there’s something really poetic about the way she writes it. Not only did I find it totally believable that this would be the story Early would come up with and tell to explain the connections in his life in an orderly, mathematical way, but Pi’s adventures also serve a dual purpose, on one hand allegorical to symbolize John and Early going on this journey to try to find their place in the world, on the other, as a sort of counterpart to their journey that cleverly foreshadows a lot of the events. I absolutely loved all the different connections between the stories and how Pi’s story mirrors the boys’ and found the whole thing oddly appropriate once I understood the point of Pi. That said, some of the connections, while really fitting, are a bit weird - there’s one, for example, with pirates, and I wouldn’t expect pirates in upstate Maine, but they also remind me of boyhood adventures in the tradition of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, so I still came away with a nice feeling in the end.
For me, I loved the characters, the writing, the depth, but if I were to take away only one thing after finishing this it would be the powerful, realistic emotions throughout. John and Early don’t hit it off right away; in fact, John thinks of Early as that weird kid at first, and it’s really what John does during one regatta scene that seals the deal and really shows character growth as it should be, not just some realization at the end of the book, but a slow, steady change over the course of the story. There are all the things John learns about Early, about other characters, and most importantly, about himself, over the course of the story. Of course, there’s also what John learns about his relationship with his father, who left John and his mother to go to war; I appreciated how his father’s absence shaped John’s attitudes at the beginning of the story and how they changed at the end, especially how it’s also reflected in Pi’s story. And of course, the ending, I said this is a book about self discovery and finding one’s place in the world, so even though I saw everything coming and knew what the story had in store for John and Early, that doesn’t take away from the lessons learned.
Overall, Navigating Early is a most excellent read that really shows that, just because a book is middle grade, doesn’t mean it can’t have depth. Clare Vanderpool doesn’t take her characters, their development, or anything else for that matter for granted and it really shows in her writing.
اعتراف میکنم که دلم نمیخواست تموم بشه و واسه همین مدام کش میدادمش و با اینکه این ده روز هرجا میرفتم همراهم بود، نمیخوندمش. جاش و زمانش توی تخت و آخر شب قبل خواب بود و اونم به شکل مزهمزه طور.
چقدر معلم ریاضی جدید رو که جرقهی داستان عدد پی رو زد دوست داشتم؛ و چقدر اِرلی رو با اون ذهن عجیب و وسیعش، دوستتر. و همینطور فضای داستان در داستانِ کتاب خیلی جالب بود. داستان دنبالهدار دیگه ای هرچند فصل یکبار از زبان اِرلی نقل میشه. داستان عدد پی. داستانی خیالی که پلی میشه بین جهان ذهنی اِرلی و دنیای واقعی.
[از اینجا به بعد یه اسپویل کوچولو داریم]
با خوندن این کتاب فهمیدم چقدر دربارهی اوتیسم کم میدونم و چه دنیای جذاب و کمتر کشفشدهای دارن این آدمها و حالا مشتاقم بیشتر دربارهشون یاد بگیرم. در طول خوندن کتاب هم مدام یاد فارست گامپ میفتادم و دلم غنج میرفت برای این همه خالص بودن.
تنها انتقادم هم به کتاب، تقدیمیِ اسپویلوار مترجم بود. اگه اسمی از اوتیسم در تقدیمیش نمیبرد، منِ خواننده تا آخر این کتاب متوجه این موضوع نمیشدم و اصلا نمکش هم به همین بود که کلش رو بخونی و آخرش برسی به دو صفحه سخن نویسنده که جریان جرقه این کتاب رو تعریف میکنه و میگه حتا نخواسته در کل کتاب اسمی از اوتیسم ببره، که به نظرم کار خوبی کرده چون میشد مدام ذهنت درگیر باشه که این بچه چرا همزمان عجیب و شگفتانگیزه انقدر؟! که البته مترجم عزیز این اجازه رو ندادن!!
از همین الان دلم برای اِرلی تنگ شده...
پ.ن. خوشبختانه این کتاب باعث نشد طبق معمول ِ اخیر بزنم زیر گریه :))) هرچند مدام دستی قلبم رو میفشرد...
راوی داستان پسربچهای به نام جک است که بعد ازاینکه مادرش را از دست میدهد و این موضوع تاثیر عمیقی بر روانش میگذاره؛ مجبور میشه به یک مدرسهی شبانهروزی بره که نزدیک محل کار پدرشه. جک رابطهی خیلی سردی با پدرش داره و هیچ صمیمیتی بین آنها دیده نمیشه. اینکه خودش هم پسربچهای منزوی هست مزید برعلته. در مدرسه با پسربچهای به نام ارلی اودن دوست میشه که به قول خودش از عجیبترین پسرهاست و ذهن خلاقی با قدرت داستانپردازی بالا داره. و تمام موارد بالا باعث میشه که رابطهی خوبی بینشون شکل بگیره. ارلی اقیانوسی در ذهن داره، ذهنی که برای اعداد قصه میسازه و ذهنی که در آن قهرمانها نمیمیرند و ذهنی که میتونه دردها و ناامیدیها را حس کنه اما نمیتواند واکنش مناسبی نشان بده. پس ارلی یک موجود عجیب و غریب نیست. این کتاب تقدیم شده به کودکان اوتیسم که ذهنی چون اقیانوس و دلی دریایی دارند. آنها بیشتر در جهان ذهنی خودشون زندگی میکنند و این یک درخودفرورفتگیست؛ که ارتباطشون با دنیای بیرون کمی مختل میشه. ذهنی دارند با کارکرد حیرتآور و دیده شده که میتوانند کارهای خارقالعادهای در حوزههای تخصصی از خودشان نشان دهند.
Esse livro foi uma experiência tão incrível pra mim que não sei se conseguiria colocar em palavras tudo o que senti enquanto lia ele. Desde o começo senti que seria uma leitura envolvente, mas confesso que não esperava que ela fosse fluir tanto quanto fluiu. Um livro emocionante e cheio de ensinamentos do começo ao fim. Feliz por esse ter sido o livro do mês de abril do Infinistante <3
I enjoyed the artistry of this book, but often questioned the intended audience for this book. It seems like the kind of book that adults adore and few kids read. While promoted in some circles as a middle grade novel, I don't know of a single ten year old in the past decade I could have given this book to that would understand it or finish it.
Don't worry about who you are going to pass it to when you are done. Read Navigating Early for yourself and enjoy Vanderpool's gift for language and interesting characters.
The best characters in children's literature are ones we can believe as people. We read about Ramona Quimby, or Dicey Tillerman, or Bud Caldwell, and we feel like they're living, breathing human beings, people we wouldn't be surprised to meet. This is true even in books that aren't realistic fiction -- although the adventures of Meg O'Keefe, Will Stanton, and Lyra Belacqua may be otherworldly, their personalities are still recognizable and sharply focused. And, maybe most of all, it's true of characters that are quirky, eccentric, or otherwise "different." Anne Shirley, Marcus Heilbroner, and Lucky Trimble are all strikingly, consistently out of step with their surroundings, but they still seem like real people with real hopes, fears, and dreams, people whose actions are inspired from within, rather than imposed on them by the whims of the author.
And that's my number one problem with Navigating Early. The book is narrated by Jack Baker, a thirteen-year-old Kansas boy who's been sent to boarding school in Maine after the death of his mother in the mid-1940s, but the real center of the story is Jack's friend Early Auden. Early is a truly strange kid, a mathematical savant who's obsessed with the number pi, turning the digits into an elaborate story about a boy's mythical quest. He also sorts jellybeans to calm down, suffers from some kind of seizures, will only listen to certain records on specific days, obsesses over a dangerous wild animal known as the Great Appalachian Bear, and is a very good boatbuilder. He's also an orphan who lives by himself in the school custodian's workshop and insists that his brother, a soldier who perished in the fighting in France, isn't actually dead.
I was never able to buy Early as a character, rather than an aggregation of literary quirks. It's much the same problem that I had with Stella and Angel in last year's Summer of the Gypsy Moths, and for me, it's enough to sink the book. I need to be able to believe in Early for the novel to work, and I simply couldn't do it.
Setting the characters aside for a minute, there's an awful lot going on in the plot, and to her credit, Vanderpool manages to link all the parts together. However, I wasn't sure how I was meant to interpret the magical realism elements as the story of Pi and Jack and Early's adventures in the Maine woods intersect -- is there something supernatural going on, or is it just a bizarre set of coincidences, and does it matter? I also felt like the busyness of the plot meant that certain elements got short shrift; I expected the Steeplechase to become a major element, but it ended up as a mere footnote, and I felt like Gunnar's backstory, which got shunted to the sidelines, was one thing too many.
Maybe I'm simply immune to Clare Vanderpool's magic; I wasn't overly enthusiastic about Moon over Manifest either, and that one won the Newbery. But I'm not on board.
A slightly longer version of this review appeared on For Those About to Mock at abouttomock.blogspot.com
The books of a Newbery Medal winner all somehow seem to have more shine after the award has been won, whether the author has been published for decades or is only starting out in the business. For Clare Vanderpool, striking Newbery paydirt in 2011 for Moon Over Manifest meant achieving the highest honor possible in her first effort as a published author. There were no other books of hers sitting on the shelves to suddenly be imbued with the soft, glowing halo of Newbery success, transfusing them with an instant legitimacy they hadn't previously been regarded with by the public. All those other books would have to roll off the presses with the glow already emanating around them, the product of a mind capable of writing a book good enough to earn the most coveted prize in American youth literature. Clare Vanderpool assured her long-lasting place in the pantheon of kids' writers as soon as the Newbery Committee declared Moon Over Manifest the most distinguished offering of the year, but what she came up with next would determine whether her award winner was a fluke of creative energies sparking at the right time, or a sign of consistent greatness to follow for however long her career would last. In Navigating Early, I believe we're given as resounding an answer to that question as Clare Vanderpool could have provided: she is a bona fide master of shaping stories that patiently follow an intricate path of human emotion, and the payoff at the end of the book is extraordinary. Stories as powerful and life-changing as Navigating Early come along almost as rarely as an author like Clare Vanderpool, reinforcing for dedicated readers the truth behind why we read. We read because every once in a while we find a book like Navigating Early that blows our doors off and gets in behind the shields we put up to guard our emotions, affecting us at our heart, where few writers are skillful enough to reach. With a cast of faultlessly genuine characters, each one special and capable of setting up a permanent home in the reader's heart, and an exceptionally nuanced story full of surprising moments and little mysteries tucked like nesting dolls, each one in succession a wholly unexpected development, Clare Vanderpool is the coxswain directing the narrative with flawless care and ability toward the finish only she can see coming. And it is a doozy of a finish, capping a book that, in my opinion, is even more worthy of the Newbery Medal than Moon Over Manifest. If Clare Vanderpool had anything to prove after the artistic acclaim heaped upon her debut novel, she proved it all and more in her second book. It is a marvelous piece of literature.
Thirteen-year-old Jack Baker may be reaching adolescence soon, but that isn't why his life has been so rough lately. When his mother died this past summer, a trauma that gave no warning to Jack or his military father, the two of them began having an even harder time relating to each other than usual. Jack's father wanted to scrub clean the memories from his mother's leftover possessions, scouring and sanitizing until all was in order and they wouldn't have to run across her things around the house anymore. But Jack is more like his mother, a collector and saver, and he wanted to keep everything she owned, even if being surrounded by her treasures brought back painful memories. A clash of coping mechanisms between father and son was inevitable. When eighth grade starts in the fall, Jack's father is called to important business with the armed forces, and Jack is sent from their home in Kansas to a boys' boarding school in Maine, far from his father. Now Jack is without either parent.
Jack doesn't know any of the boys at school. None are mean or intentionally ostracize him, but he still feels left out of the loop. Jack might be the most unpopular kid at the academy if it weren't for Early Auden, who comes and goes as he pleases and rarely speaks to anyone. The events of Early's life, as Jack learns from the other kids, mirror the recent sadness of Jack's in some ways. Early, too, has had a parent die, and his older brother, Fisher, was killed in combat during World War II, which is just ending as Navigating Early begins. Early skips in and out of class as he sees fit without protest from the teachers, vacating the room when something one of them says agitates or angers him. The first time Jack witnesses this is in the case of Pi, when the math teacher puts forth a new theory being vetted that the sequence of numbers after the decimal in Pi may be gradually tapering off, and contrary to what people have believed for millennia, Pi could actually have an end. When a coincidence of fortune brings Jack into proximity with Early, "that strangest of boys" vehemently explains to him that Pi isn't dead, he can't possibly be dead, he's only lost and wandering around in the wilderness and it's up to Early to find him.
Dead? What is he talking about? Early insists the numbers in Pi tell the story of Pi's life for anyone who will listen, a story about a boy on a journey who returns to where he came from and finds his home destroyed and his family and neighbors gone. And so Pi heads back out on the longest, loneliest part of his odyssey, guided only by the great mother bear constellation in the stars, hoping her ageless maternal instinct will be enough to guard his life from the hardships of a world that doesn't care. Jack listens to Early's stories, but can't make heads or tails of the kid. What kind of boy spends most of his time in a room by himself drawing sequential numbers on a chalkboard, sitting in silence (or to the strains of a record player spinning a highly specific lineup of albums) while the other kids at the school play games and enjoy spending time together? Yet every time Jack thinks he's had enough of Early's weirdness and decides to leave him alone, that strangest of boys says something to rein in his attention again, and he's back listening to what Early has to tell him.
"Don't go putting your hand in a honeypot till you make sure it's not really a bees' nest."
—Navigating Early, P. 181
Fixing up a boat for the school races is the start of Jack's tangible partnership with Early Auden, but their teamwork doesn't and there. Even as Early's idiosyncrasies continue to confound Jack, such as his penchant for methodically sorting colored jelly beans when he's upset or working out a complicated problem, or becoming suddenly angry over silly matters such as Jack siding with the math teacher on the idea that Pi is probably going to come to an end, Jack can't help but be drawn to Early by the parts of the boy that remind him of his own mother. Early calls him Jackie right off the bat, like his mother used to, though no one else has ever called him that. Early also uses amusing, revealing philosophical expressions like the ones Jack's mother had for every occasion, and they stop Jack in his tracks every time. It's as if there's a shard of his mother's soul at rest in Early, a piece of the person he needs more than anyone else in the world but can't have ever again, and the closest he feels to her now is when he's around Early.
"That was the nature of being lost. You had the freedom to go anywhere, but you didn't really know where anywhere was."
—Navigating Early, P. 91
When a series of crossed wires during holiday vacation leaves Jack alone in the school without his father coming to pick him up as the plan had been, and only Early is still skulking around the dark halls of the academy, is it any wonder Jack joins up with him? Is it any wonder that he follows Early even as that strangest of boys prepares to set out in his deceased brother's legendary boat to find the great black bear that has been stalking the area, an animal for whom a huge bounty has been declared? But Early's ultimate goal isn't the black bear or the bounty on its head. The bear is but the guide for their journey just as the great bear of the stars kept Pi safe during the saddest part of his story, and Early is going to follow the bear and prove Pi is still alive. Because Early has much more of Pi's story to tell Jack as they take Fisher's boat down the river toward their final destination, a story engraved in the hearts of two boys who have lost too much already; a story told and retold for all time in the stars above that aid them in navigating rough spots literal and metaphorical. There is more to Early and his winding, perceptively detailed story of Pi than Jack could have imagined when Early began telling it back at the school. The numbers that naturally make sense to Early's brain as a coherent narrative begin to make sense to Jack in some ways, too, as it dawns on him that Early's excursion into the Maine wilderness was never a spur-of-the-moment tangent set out upon thoughtlessly. Early knew what he was doing—doesn't he always?—and the way in which their emotionally revelatory journey's far-reaching circle is ultimately completed is the stuff of undying legends, of pairs and friendships that endure in the collective memory of literary consciousness for years and years and years. By the end of Navigating Early, a new friendship for the ages just may be born beneath the maternal guiding stars of the great bear, pledged to forever watch over young ones in distress.
It's so easy to feel Jack and Early's pain for the losses they have absorbed. I'm not sure why it's so easy, but I think we all feel the intense need to get up and do something after losing one precious to us, the urge to go questing if that's what's necessary to make things better, to do something other than sit steeped in melancholy and allow the grief to wrap us in its dreary embrace. Early stays active against the sadness in his own unique way, talking loudly and making up stories, performing complicated mathematical equations and conforming to rigorous routines that mustn't be upset. And because Early is doing something to counteract the loss, even if it feels to Jack like utter nonsense, he's willing to stick with him. Staying beside Early is like being close to his own mother and doing something about her loss, if anything could be done. Early's too-loud and constant talking is, for Jack, like the white part of the record that helps Early keep himself calm. When one finds someone who can dull the edge on the hurt, it makes sense to go to them, and for these reasons and others he can't fully fathom, Jack has decided to follow Early, that strangest of boys, wherever he may go. I don't think he could have made a better choice.
"If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there."
—Navigating Early, P. 218
Navigating Early is an emotional powerhouse, charging up from a modest beginning to the splendorous reward of its conclusion, as beautiful a closing piece as I have read in years. But along the way there's so much wonderful content to share, and a review of the book wouldn't be complete without doing so. Early on, Jack recalls an incident years ago when a soap box car he'd built to win the big race was ruined by a night left out in the rain. Jack's father told him, "Well, son, you made your bed, now you'll have to lie in it", but his mother had other ideas. "Yes, you made your bed, but for heaven's sake, don't just lie in it! Jackie, if you don't like the bed you're in, take it apart and make it right." Isn't that so much better advice than taking circumstances as they come and figuring you'll do better next time? How many of us acquiesce to the thought that our bed is made and we can do nothing but passively lie in it, when in reality it would be smarter to take an active approach, disassembling the bed and making it again, better than before, so we're happy with where we're going to lie? That's what Jack and his mother do with the soap box car, putting in the work to craft a fly vehicle that ends up taking second place in the race. Who could shrug off the loss of a mother who would stay up all night helping her son do that? Jack's thoughts on page eleven of Navigating Early about the way he misses his mother are some of the most understatedly poignant words in the book, and speak powerfully for themselves: "My mother was like sand. The kind that warms you on a beach when you come shivering out of the cold water. The kind that clings to your body, leaving its impression on your skin to remind you where you've been and where you come from. The kind you keep finding in your shoes and your pockets long after you've left the beach. She was also like the sand that archaeologists dig through. Layers and layers of sand that have kept dinosaur bones together for millions of years. And as hot and dusty and plain as that sand might be, those archaeologists are grateful for it, because without it to keep the bones in place, everything would scatter. Everything would fall apart." I think everyone who has felt such an intimate loss will identify with these word pictures.
As Jack and Early trek through the wilderness toward a goal only Early is confident can be attained, Jack thinks about the long lives of the trees surrounding them, standing tall for centuries in solitude or human company just the same, but each one with a story to tell. "I knew that inside each tree, etched into its core, were circles, each ring telling the story of a year in the life of that tree and this forest. What kinds of scars and jagged lines would someone find in the life of a tree? I wondered. Did people have telltale signs like that? What would mine look like? I didn't need to see them. I knew they had been severed last summer. A gash had been cut into me, so deep that I felt I was at that tipping point, when the lumberjack is just about to yell 'timber!'" And when their odyssey winds its way to the end and Jack realizes everything he hadn't known while traveling down the river with Early, it all circles back to his mother, of course, and what she told him his entire life. "Connecting the dots. That's what Mom said stargazing is all about. It's the same up there as it is down here, Jackie. You have to look for the things that connect us all. Find the ways our paths cross, our lives intersect, and our hearts collide." And a few pages later, "My mom was right. Our stories are all intertwined. It's just a matter of connecting the dots." Early Auden had it right when he set out under the eternal guidance of the great bear, watching over cubs of all kinds on the earth below her. Two kids without mothers of their own, dependent on the maternal instinct of the great bear of the sky, would never be forsaken by her watchful eye as they paddled down the river in search of that which they each had to find. Jack may have lost his bearings temporarily when his mother drifted off to make her own design among the distant stars, a constellation too beautiful not to notice but too far away to touch, but Early would never forget for long to navigate by the stars. Theirs is a connection made whole by the emotions binding them together, despite the different ways they have of coping with sadness. Forever into the unknown together, beyond the next horizon and over the endless sea.
"There are no coincidences. Just miracles by the boatload."
—Navigating Early, P. 294
In a culture of sensory overload, stimulation available everywhere until it could fry our brains with evocative sights, sounds and values to be bought and sold, uncontrollable emotional reactions to books are not common. But it's hard to imagine anyone finishing this story without tears in their eyes; tears of reaction to the bottomlessness of grief, and the reassurance of having a friend to stand beside us as we fight through the worst of it; tears of joy for connections lost that are finally, finally restored, and the sobering transience of human life in any of its stages. It all lives and breathes in Navigating Early, one of the most deeply affecting stories I have ever read. A novel like this isn't hard to forget: it's impossible, and for that I thank the pliancy of memory, for without this book I would be lost, indeed. I would be more lost than I even know. The day will never come again when I so much as glance at Navigating Early without the overwhelming emotions of that first read flooding back, and this I see as my greatest gift from a book I'm sure will never let go of me. Four and a half stars? Yes, that's definitely the rating I would give Navigating Early if it were an option, and I thought hard about awarding it the full five. True transformative experiences in literature are rare, but I believe with everything I am that this book has one in store for you, as it did me. Just pick it up and find page one, and life will never be the same.
As the ocean tugged at my feet, I realized that Early Auden, that strangest of boys, had saved me from being swept away. By teaching me how to build a boat, that numbers tell stories, and that when it's raining, it's always Billie Holiday.
This story is so important. It first came to me back in 2016, when I needed it more than I realized. It's a story of grief, of how people grieve differently, and how that's okay. No one is allowed to tell you how long you're allowed to grieve. We have Jack, whose wound is fresh and still stings, Early, who believes that the hurt will go away, Gunnar, who let grief keep him from life, and Mrs. Johannsen, who let grief keep her from death. And all of this wrapped in the story of a boy called Pi and a boy called Fisher and how they had to be lost before they could find themselves.
When I first started re-reading this, I was so scared that it wasn't going to hold up to my memories of it, but I am thrilled to report that it's still just as excellent as it was before. I listened to the audiobook for part of it as well, and it's fantastic. The narrator for Jack was maybe a little bit older sounding than I would have preferred, but it wasn't really narrated by a 14-year-old boy so I'm not too mad.
I just love Jack and Early so much. Their friendship is one of the best in fiction, in my opinion, and it's the driving relationship of the story. Because, yes, Early's love for Fisher is the reason they go out in the first place, but Jack's love for Early is why he stays, even when he doesn't want to admit that it's love. And just! this book shows that platonic love is just as deep and real as romantic love and ah! it's so important to me! It's a story all about platonic love and how it affects us as humans and it's so dang important .
So yes, if you haven't read this book, you absolutely have to. I recommend it to everyone. I never would have guessed that a book about two boys on an adventure in Maine would be one of my heart-happy books, but here we are.
Esse livro é uma história muito bonita sobre amizade, perdas, sobre relação de pais e filhos... mas acima de tudo, eu acho q é sobre se encontrar. O nosso personagem perdeu a mãe e é obrigado a ir estudar em um colégio militar onde ele se sente deslocado. O pai, que voltou da guerra, não consegue se comunicar com ele. Então ele se sente sozinho e abandonado. Até fazer amizade com o Early. Early é um menino bem diferente. Ele tem pequenas obsessões e vê o mundo onde os números são mais que símbolos. Eles tem cores, texturas, gostos... E os números contam uma história. E é pela jornada que essa história leva os dois, que eles encontram o que precisavam. Não necessariamente o que procuravam. Lindo lindo lindo. De terminar com o coraçãozinho na mão!
Que história mais fofa! Como os personagens se conhecem, como eles se entendem e como vão viver uma aventura em que imaginação e realidade são meio borradas. Nós, como leitores, não sabemos se eles estão vivendo ou inventando tudo e tudo bem, porque essa nem é a questão do livro. São duas crianças de 13 anos aprendendo sobre perdão, sobre perdas, sobre saudade e sobre amizade. Por mais que a narrativa engane em alguns momentos, é importante ler o livro tendo em mente que é uma criança que está te contando aquela história, para torna-la mais real e sensível aos nossos olhos. É uma aventura que mistura aquele sentimento de coração quentinho com dias em casa vendo um filme legal na sessão da tarde. Quando você embarca na imaginação junto com Jackie e Early você se encanta com o mundo criado e vivido por eles. Adorei <3
فیشر می گه همیشه چیزی که دنبالش هستی رو آخرین جایی که داری می گردی پیدا میکنی. اقیانوسی در ذهن جوری ذهنت رو بازی میده و درگیر میکنه که نمیتونید کتاب رو کنار بزارید حتی برای یک لحظه..... محیط داستان یه فضای عجیب غریبی داره که جدا آدم میترسونه. دوتا دوست ارلی و جکی با یه قایق به اسم مین میرند دنبال ماجراجویی براساس داستان عدد پی (۳/۱۴)و جدا این عجیبه که ماجراجوییت بر اساس یک داستان خیالی باشه و افکار ارلی من خیلی دوستش داشتم و اره میدونم کارهاش عجیب غریبه و تفکراتش؛با این ماجراجویی عجیبشون خودشون انداختن تو دردسر و تو طول سفرشون هم کلی اتفاقات وحشتناکی براشون افتاد. در کنار این قشنگی دردناک هم بود. چرا میگم دردناک این ماجراجویی خطرناکشون به خاطر یه نفره:> دیگه دیگه نمیگم برید بخونید.
تبدیل به یکی از کتابهای مورد علاقم شده و خیلی عزیزه. داستان دو تا پسریه به اسم ارلی و جکی، به مرور با هم دوست میشن و قبل اینکه متوجه بشن هم دیگه رو از غرق شدن نجات میدن. این کتاب پر از خلاقی و احساسات مختلفه و همه عاشق ارلی میشین از اول داستان و به مرور هم عاشق جکی میشین.
A primeira coisa que me chamou a atenção neste livro é a capa. Fiquei apaixonada por essa edição da Darkside. É lindíssima. Sobre a história não fazia a menor ideia do que se tratava. Estou participando do clube do livro Infinistante e simplesmente comprei o livro do mês. Comecei a ler o livro só com uma vaga ideia de que tinha um personagem com autismo. O livro é sobre a improvável amizade entre Jackie e Early, dois estudantes de um Internato no Maine que acabam vivendo juntos uma aventura fantástica. Achei a história bem poética e cativante. Acabei mergulhando nos pensamentos e vivências tanto do protagonista como na narrativa de Pi. A maneira como a autora nos fez visualizar como Early enxerga os números e o mundo é surpreendente. As referências dele não só de música como todo o modo de pensar dele são tocantes. Creio que o livro é mais voltado para o público infanto-juvenil que vai se identificar melhor com a história, mas ele é interessante para qualquer um que queira conhecer mais sobre o autismo e que goste de um pouco de fantasia.
Well that was amazing. There were no coincidences, just boatloads of miracles in this story and its telling. Everything had a purpose and a place by the end. The characters were few and important and endearing. Early's strangeness and confidence combined with Jack's normality and turmoil was beautiful. Everything revolved around pi and direction, even more so than you'll find possible. It is tumultuous and somewhat intense, deep and still simple. Great for ages 12+
بعضی کتاب ها باعث می شوند تا مدتی حوصله ی کتاب خواندن نداشته باشم. اقیانوسی در ذهن یکی از همان ها بود. بس که کش می آمد و خواندنش مثل راه رفتن در باتلاق بود. با کتاب های کشدار، با حتی کتاب های خسته کننده مشکلی ندارم. حتی گاهی اوقات این کشدار بودن و تمام نشدن جذاب هم هست. اما خواندن اقیانوسی در ذهن برایم چیزی نزدیک به عذاب بود. هر بار که تصمیم می گرفتم سراغش بروم با خودم می گفتم:«اه باز این!» و اگر پایان کتاب نبود شاید این ریویو خیلی خشن تر از این نوشته می شد.
اقیانوسی در ذهن ماجرای پسرکی است که به تازگی مادرش را از دست داده و پدرش که تازه از جنگ برگشته، چندان او را درک نمی کند و به یک مدرسه شبانه روزی می فرستد. پسرک ما در این مدرسه با پسرِ عجیبی به نام «اِرلی» روبه رو می شود. «اِرلی» از نظم موجود در اعداد اعشار عدد پی داستانی را کشف کرده است و می خواهد برای تجربه آن داستان به یک سفر ماجراجویی برود!
اگر شما این کتاب را نخوانده اید، احتمالاً تا همین جا گیج شده اید. باید بگویم ادامه ی ماجرا از همین هم گیج کننده تر است. اما تا همین جا کافی است تا ما نسبت به منطق کتاب شک کنیم. «کشف داستان از نظم اعشار عدد پی دقیقا یعنی چه؟» این داستان هر چند فصل یک بار مستقیماً تعریف می شود. اینکه عدد پی کجا رفته و با چه چیزهایی رو به رو شده و چه ماجراهایی داشته. تا پایان کتاب هر قدر سعی کردم این منطق این مساله را درک کنم نتوانستم.
ماجرا آن جایی پیچیده تر شد که دو پسر به خاطر این قصه تصمیم می گیرند به یک سفر ماجراجویی بروند و تا برادر «اِرلی» را که در جنگ کشته شده پیدا کنند و عجیب تر اینکه در این سفر همه ی اتفاقات داستان مذکور را تجربه می کنند و از آن عجیب تر که دست آخر مشخص می شود همه ی تصورات «اِرلی» از عدد پی واقعی بوده! بازهم با هر معیاری که می سنجیدم منطق کتاب برایم قابل درک نبود گذشته از این، اتفاقات موجود در داستان، راه رفتن بی پایان دو پسر در جنگل و درگیری های تکراری، کتاب را بیش از حد تصور خسته کننده می کرد. آن قدر که هر چند صفحه یک بار از خودم می پرسیدم «اصلا هدف این همه مبارزه دقیقا چیه؟»
مساله مهم تر این است که اقیانوسی در ذهن همیشه به عنوان کتابی برای درک بهتر شرایط بچه های اوتیسم معرفی می شد. به نظرم معرفی این کتاب با این عنوان، ظلم به همه ی کتاب هایی است که در مورد اوتیسم نوشته شده. گرچه نویسنده در گفتار پایانی کتاب ادعا می کند «اِرلی» اوتیسم داشته اما این مساله در هیچ کجای کتاب ذکر نمی شود و گذشته از آن در طول داستان ما با هیچ اطلاعات خاصی برای درک بهتر بچه های اوتیسم مواجه نمی شویم.
در پایان به نظرم کتاب های خیلی بهتری در جهان وجود دارد که خواندنشان به این کتاب اولویت داشته باشد!
Navigating Early is the story of three boys. Jackie, the protagnoist, a Kansas transpant who finds himself in a military boarding school in Maine after the sudden death of his mother. Jackie feels guilty about his mother's death, disconnected from his father and unsure about the world. He's learned some tough life lessons too young. Early, a strange but intelligent boy who lives more in his own head than reality. He too has experienced a loss. Instead of balling everything up inside like Jacky, Early is left to his own devices. He roams the school, lives in a janitor's closet and rarely comes to class.
The third boy is Pi, as in the never-ending number everyone studies in math class. Within this novel, Pi is seemingly a figment of Early's imagination, his personal coping mechansim. But as Early tells the story of Pi, following the numbers, what's reality and what's imaginary begins to blur. The story of Pi runs parallel and interwoven with the story of Jacky and Early.
Sometimes I struggle with journey books because they often have a forgone conclusion that you expect from the outset. But this book surprised me. This story is not sweet and innocent but I wouldn't call it dark either. The tone reminds me of the movie Stand By Me, a story where characters are standing on the line between adulthood and childhood facing both sides.
The way this book is written is beautiful and effortless. A lot of writers try to be poetic and it comes across as forced, but Vanderpool does it expertly.
"We're part of the same constellation, your father and I," Mom said that day, the day of the camping trip. "It's just not one you find in any textbook." "That's a nice story, Mom, but it's not exactly going to help me find my way out of the woods," I told her.
The story moves slowly. At times I wondered if it moved too slow, which perhaps may be the book's only flaw. But when everything comes together, it really comes together. All of the details of this book matter. Tiny things I barely noticed came back by the end of the novel, creating a well-crafted and eloquent story. The conclusion really resonated emotionally. In the end, when a story is this well told, the slowness didn't matter at all.
“Connecting the dots. That's what Mom said stargazing is all about. It's the same up there as it is down here, Jackie. You have to look for the things that connect us all. Find the ways our paths cross, our lives intersect, and our hearts collide.”
Muito feliz com essa releitura!!!!!!! Ainda é um dos meus livros favoritos. Cada detalhe dessa história é mágico demais! Recomendo esse livro pra qualquer pessoa que queira uma leitura mágica e ao mesmo tempo bem real. Amo que você vai lendo e se sentindo parte da aventura, sem contar os vários aprendizados que os personagens deixam. O Early Auden é um personagem criado com tanto cuidado e carinho que eu não sei nem explicar, todas as traços da personalidade dele são incríveis e eu amo demais!!! Além disso, a forma que as coisas se conectam, SABE? São várias histórias e no final você percebe que todas estão se conectando, eu não aguento a mente dessa autora meu deusssssss, muito especial!!!!
"There are no coincidences. Just miracles by the boatload." 🤍
به عنوان کسی که با دو تا بچه ی اوتیسم زندگی کرده و چندین بچه ی اوتیسم رو از نزدیک دیده، باید بگم که این کتاب هیچ کمکی به هیچ کس برای شناخت این اختلال ذهنی نمی کنه. من اصلا از این که رویاهای ارلی به واقعیت می پیوست خوشم نیومد راستش. برام مثل اطناب بود! انگار داستان رو یک بار می گفت و بعد کامل تعریفش می کرد!... ارلی چرا و چطور همه ی اون چیزها رو می دونست؟ منطقی نبود!
باز اگه کتاب تخیلی بود، یه چیزی! اما این مدلی زیاد دوستش نداشتم.
و این که جک به خاطر اهمیت رفاقتش هر کار احمقانه ای ارلی می گه رو انجام می ده، به نظرم تا حد زیادی حتی بدآموزی داره! چون بچه ها ممکنه به راحتی همدیگه رو اشتباه راهنمایی کنن و این که صرفا چون دوستشه، باید ازش پیروی کنه و به حرفش گوش بده درست نیست. کاری که جک می کرد.
Um livro muito bonito sobre o abandono, o luto e o sentimento de esperança misturados a uma narrativa que beira o realismo mágico. Me lembrou demais um dos meus livros favoritos do ano, 'King and the Dragonflies' e, assim com ele, sinto que esse livro me deixou muitas lições, e que muitas outras virão em uma releitura. Incrível, tocante, marcante. Não é a toa que foi premiado.
When a book is a slow-starter, it's not as tough as an audiobook. If you're halfway through the audiobook and you don't feel as if anything as happened, it's tough. Things definitely pick up halfway through, but will any kid stick with this? The reader is great. It's just a tough sell.
If you read and loved Vanderpool’s heartwarming debut and Newberry Medal Winning Moon Over Manifest and are hoping to find the same depth of humanity in her sophomore novel, Navigating Early, you are in luck. In fact, my greatest criticism about Navigating Early is that it’s too thematically similar to Moon Over Manifest, so let me get that gripe out of the way before I can dive into why Navigating Early is such a wonderful read.
Both books involve children who are displaced–they have left what homes they knew to take up residence in a new and strange local. Both must learn to navigate their new environments as the new kid. Both have essentially lost their mothers, and both have a strong and wounding disconnect with their fathers. Both stories rely heavily on the power of coincidence or, as Jack’s mother would say, “There are no coincidences. Just miracles by the boatload.” Both books utilize the technique of stories within stories in order to tell their tale. In fact, Moon Over Manifest and Navigating Early were arranged so similarly that it made it impossible for me to be swept away and fall in love with this new book the way that I was when listening to Moon. I sincerely wonder if there had been more time in between my reading of the two, or if I had read Navigating Early first, which I would prefer. Perhaps Clare Vanderpool will fall into my list of authors who write the same sort of book over and over, but do it so well I love them regardless (this list being headed by John Green, of course).
My only final complaint is that those double meaning titles (you know the ones, like Saving Grace, Shattered Glass, that sort of thing) make me gag instinctively–it’s like something I would have named a book for a writing contest in 7th grade knowing the judges would all think ‘Oh! She’s so clever.’ And then tear up and promptly award me a blue ribbon. Yuck. But regardless, Navigating Early boasts one of my absolute favorite covers of 2013 thus far–I mean look at that water and fog!–so I’d still hang a giant poster of it on my wall.
The first 1/3-1/2 of Navigating Early slogs by at a fairly slow pace, but in a way that is necessary to set up for the remaining journey of the book. As a child of a landlocked state, I felt Jack’s complete nausea upon seeing the ocean, and as someone who for inexplicable reasons joined the crew team at University, I really pitied Jack’s first experiences in a boat attempting to navigate a language and motions that seemed ingrained in others, but to him were completely foreign. Jack is only 13, but he’s already learned some of the harsher lessons in life. He knows that nothing lasts forever, and envies those who have yet to see this. When his mother dies, his father returns from years at war to sweep her memory aside and drop his son at a boarding school hundreds of miles away from everything and everyone he knows, without even his remaining parent to comfort him.
Early has what we today would identify as Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism, though in 1945 he is identified only as strange. In addition, he is a savant with an instinctual understanding and interpretation of math that blurs into synesthesia. Early sees Pi as more than a number–he sees a story, and Jack is the one boy willing to ask Early the all-important question: “Who is Pi?”
As Early reveals the story of Pi to Jack, the boys begin to mirror Pi’s journey in their search for the Great Appalachian Bear and Early’s brother. Jack begins to anticipate where the lines between reality and story will blur, questioning his own sanity as Early’s tale seems less and less crazy.
Navigating Early is a wonderful story of friendship and finding one’s bearings. Throughout so much of this story Jack feels lost, almost stymied by the possibilities before him. Early, on the other hand, maintains his direction. He knows who he is and where he is going, and he helps Jack to do the same–at least enough so that when he himself feels lost, Jack will be there to put Early back on track. In some ways, Vanderpool’s sophomore novel is stronger than her debut. She is more sure of herself as she constructs her adventures, more subtle in her connections, and more powerful in developing her characters. This is the nuance I love to see in Middle Grade. Vanderpool doesn’t write down to kids, she writes with introspection as one of them, imparting lessons with actions that could do all of us readers some good.