Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

The Quilt (Alida, #3)
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ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > BOTM for February is THE QUILT

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message 1: by Jemima (last edited Feb 01, 2017 06:17AM) (new)

Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
A clear winner this month - for Gary Paulsen's The Quilt, which will help everyone with their A to Z Reading Challenge (and if you haven't started that yet - click the link)

Quidditch Through the Ages came a valiant second. It was delightful to have so many ideas of Q books added to our list - plenty for us to chew on in years to come!

So, what do you think of The Quilt? Put your comments here, with care over giving spoilers to people who may not have finished yet.


message 2: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
I've got my copy on order at the library!


message 3: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
Rebecca wrote: "I've got my copy on order at the library!"

I checked my library when it looked like this might be in the running... Mod's privilege! It isn't, although the first two in the series are. I haven't worked out the system for requesting an inter-library loan yet...


message 4: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 311 comments I was looking forward to reading it but unfortunately my local and regional library doesn't have it. :(


Manybooks | 332 comments Mine is on hold at the library, but now I actually have to go there and get it (the library is doing renovations and the temporary location is a real pain in the behind to get to).


message 6: by Jemima (last edited Feb 04, 2017 09:27AM) (new)

Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
The paperback is listed on Amazon UK at under £5 (and at the same price at Book Depo with free delivery) and at Amazon.com at $5.39 with the audio book listed as 'Free with Audible trial'. So if it's going to cost you $5 to get to the library and return it again, or you want to try Audible, that's an option.

I've now checked out my library loans - which cost £7, so I'd rather buy it - or they might buy it. I've suggested they buy it as they've got the second book in the series already in the library. We'll see what happens :)


Manybooks | 332 comments Well, I have started the book, and the fact that the main protagonist (who seems to be Gary Paulsen at a young age) is simply called "the boy" is not only distancing but rather off-putting.


Manybooks | 332 comments Jennifer wrote: "Hmmm. I am very on the fence about this one. I read the preview on Amazon and didn't love it so I think I'll pass this month. I have many other books on my to-read list."

I downloaded it on my Kindle/Ipad and so will likely read it as it seems a short enough offering. But the distancing narration and the fact that the main protagonist is simply called "the boy" feels at best a bit strange.


message 9: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
Strange or interesting? I was intrigued by the blurb, but as you know, I don't vote for anything now unless there's a tie.

I hope the people who voted for it are reading it!


Manybooks | 332 comments Jemima wrote: "Strange or interesting? I was intrigued by the blurb, but as you know, I don't vote for anything now unless there's a tie.

I hope the people who voted for it are reading it!"


Although I was also intrigued enough by the book description to download the book (even though I did not vote for it), I find the style of writing so far strangely distancing and majorly distracting. Especially considering that The Quilt is seemingly based on the author's own childhood (which the author's prologue verifies), I have to reiterate that the namelessness of the main protagonist (the fact that he is called simply "the boy") stops me from becoming in any way emotionally close to him and actually does feel a bit creepy (and I wonder if Gary Paulsen had during his sojourns with his grandmother also been simply referred to as "the boy" a tendency that I have always found a bit problematic both in books and in real life as I think it depersonalises children and makes them appear more as objects than as legitimate characterised individuals). Because I have the book downloaded and because the themes and such still interest me somewhat, I will continue reading, although I am not sure if I would download the Kindle edition now after having realised just how for me distancing and distracting (and majorly depersonalising) the narration feels and reads (and it sure does not make me want to consider other books by Gary Paulsen all that much).


message 11: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
I had a very different reaction from others to the style of this book. To me, the distancing created by just calling the main character "the boy" was all about creating the somewhat distant and fuzzy memory and understanding that the boy carried from that summer into adulthood.

I actually have a lot of trouble imagining this story with the kind of narrator we usually have in kids' books; certainly I think it would lose some of the sense of being more than just a relatively small incident (a sense of importance or significance?) that I get from the style.

I'm not expressing myself very well.

Paulsen doesn't use this style to such an extreme in his other books, but I will say that there is a certain distance, or maybe it's "perspective" in the narrative style of books like Hatchet and the sequels. There's no lack of action and excitement in those books, but there is also a sense of looking at it from a calm distance--even Brian at times is backed off and looking at his own situation from a distance.


message 12: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1421 comments Mod
Could this distancing style be something useful to discuss with kids? One of the techniques I've learnt over the years is to step out of a problem I have and ask myself what would I advise someone who came to me with this problem. It could help a lot of kids to learn this earlier.


message 13: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 12, 2017 02:40PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manybooks | 332 comments Jemima wrote: "Could this distancing style be something useful to discuss with kids? One of the techniques I've learnt over the years is to step out of a problem I have and ask myself what would I advise someone ..."

I don't know. I just feel absolutely disconnected to both the scene and the characters (kind of like reading a children's version of a Berthold Brecht play, but one where distance does not really make sense and immediacy and emotional attachment are actually or would actually be preferred). I am still at the beginning but I feel absolutely nothing with regard to the absent mother and while this might work for an adult novel or even a longer children's novel, the shortness of the narrative just makes me want to be a bit more involved on an emotional level so to speak.


message 14: by Ali (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ali Seegar | 12 comments Finish the book this evening and it kind of left me cold. I think I enjoyed the writing but the head-hopping of the protagonist went against anything I've read before. Sometimes being referred to as 'the boy' sounded as through a narrator was telling the story and then in the next sentence "he" was telling us his thoughts. And then from time to time we were told what he would be thinking/doing in the future.

Like Manybooks I also struggled with the lack of emotion, how he was feeling was dealt with more on a factual basis than an emotional one.


Manybooks | 332 comments Ali wrote: "Finish the book this evening and it kind of left me cold. I think I enjoyed the writing but the head-hopping of the protagonist went against anything I've read before. Sometimes being referred to a..."

And this is the type of book where emotion is needed.


message 16: by Ali (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ali Seegar | 12 comments Manybooks, you're absolutely right. You needed the emotion to set the tension in the book. It was more a narration than a story. But perhaps that's what he wanted as it was memories from his childhood.

In some ways, if this was his intention, I think it was to sophisticated for a children's book.


message 17: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Ali wrote: "Manybooks, you're absolutely right. You needed the emotion to set the tension in the book. It was more a narration than a story. But perhaps that's what he wanted as it was memories from his childhood.

In some ways, if this was his intention, I think it was to sophisticated for a children's book. "


I actually had the reaction that the whole thing--including the subject matter--wasn't really a children's book. I had no problem with the style, but I can see it making it harder for a child to connect with the story.


Manybooks | 332 comments Rebecca wrote: "Ali wrote: "Manybooks, you're absolutely right. You needed the emotion to set the tension in the book. It was more a narration than a story. But perhaps that's what he wanted as it was memories fro..."

It feels like reading a pamphlet or a behavioural analysis.


message 19: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Got to say I saw it more as a poetic meditation on a dim and distant memory.


message 20: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 26, 2017 06:56AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manybooks | 332 comments Well, I certainly did not at all enjoy this book, and will probably stay away from Gary Paulsen as an author from now on unless I need to read one of his offerings for academic purposes.


message 21: by Sheri (new)

Sheri (sherimassey) Not at either of my libraries. Recommended for purchase.


message 22: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Manybooks wrote: "Well, I certainly did not at all enjoy this book, and will probably stay away from Gary Paulsen as an author from now on unless I need to read one of his offerings for academic purposes."

Well, different tastes are what make the world go 'round. I like Paulsen's novels a lot, and just recently re-read the Hatchet series, and found it still good. The "Mr Tuckett" books can be great for reluctant readers, especially boys (non-stop adventure, slightly over the top IMO, but still fun).


message 23: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 26, 2017 05:56PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manybooks | 332 comments Rebecca wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "Well, I certainly did not at all enjoy this book, and will probably stay away from Gary Paulsen as an author from now on unless I need to read one of his offerings for academic pu..."

Would it not be boring if we all liked the same type of books?


message 24: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1673 comments Mod
Yeah. Glad there are so many kinds of books out there!


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