Raina's Reviews > The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
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's review
Mar 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: adult, funny, graphic-novel-travelogues, j, quirky-kids
Recommended to Raina by: Samrat

T.S. is a prodigy of cartography. He is only twelve years old, and he sees his whole world through the lens of mapping. He creates maps of movement, sociological phenomena, all of the possible moves from the starting position in Cat's Cradle... The possibilities are literally endless. All of his maps feature technical drawings so precise and aesthetically pleasing that he regularly publishes his maps in magazines like Smithsonian and Science.

He does all this from a ranch in Montana. His dad is a rancher who kneels at the altar of the iconic Cowboy, and his mom is an entomologist studying a quite possibly nonexistant bug. His sister is a prototypical teenage girl; none of his family knows that he is a famous cartographer (well, as famous as a cartographer can be).

One day, he gets a phone call from the Smithsonian - he has won a prestigious award, which comes with the opportunity to give a speech to the academic elite in Washington D.C. and temporary post at the Smithsonian Institute.

All this would be fascinating enough, but, as you would totally wish if you were reading this in the traditional way, T.S.'s maps are included in the book. Each page has margins of two or maybe three inches, and in many ways, we get to see the world as T. S. sees it.

As an analytical person myself, I loved this book. It's a relatively quiet book, though there is violence and adventure, and secret societies. There is a large chunk in the middle where Larsen dedicates tens of pages to a story about T.S.'s ancestor - a fictional woman who was one of the the earliest academically educated female scientists in America. I have a soft spot for quirky kids who see the world through unique lenses, and this definitely fits that set.

It's shelved in Adult Fiction at my library, which isn't misplaced, as the journey and the story will probably be appreciated the most by adults. But if you have a prodigy kid in your life, they might like it too.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Samrat (new) - added it

Samrat Yay! Did you read this on my recommendation? I just have to get back to the book when I've got a whole day to lie around in bed staring at it.

Raina Yes yes yes! Absolutely yes. I NEVER would have picked this up if you hadn't recommended it. And it was fabulous. :)

message 3: by Samrat (new) - added it

Samrat Yay!

message 4: by Louise (new)

Louise i must admit thought it would be in the kids section but can see why not only 4 chapters in but enjoying it as i am quirky

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