Monday, January 30, 2012

Time Travels

I suppose almost all books are vehicles for time travel. After all, I visited Madame Bovary recently, then moved to 1984 (or some version of it) as I read 1Q84. While I've been reading Stephen King's latest novel, November 22, 1963, which sends his protagonist back in time from the present to 1958 to live for a few years (in a couple of minutes), I listened to a YA audiobook that had come recommended to me at NCTE, Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me. Sure enough, it's about time travel.

In this case, the narrator Miranda is a sixth grade girl in New York City in the 1970s, living through what seems to be minor events in her day as her mother prepares to compete on the $15,000 Pyramid with Dick Clark. A chain of events that occur on her way home from school affects her relationship with friends, classmates, and neighbors.

Throughout the story, Miranda chooses to read her favorite book--A Wrinkle in Time--over and over again, rather than choosing to read anything new. The book connects her to one mysterious character, the boy Marcus, who punches her best friend without provocation on their way home one day, which seems to be a pivotal point in the chain of events. She also finds that her least favorite classmate Julia also loves this book, and the three of them share fascination with the possibilities and repercussions of time travel.

Before I read the book, I was warned that when you get to the end, you feel you need to start over and read it again. I now understand why. If I do take the time to go back through the novel, I know I'll pay closer attention to the titles, all possible topics for the lightning round of Pyramid.

I will wait until I finish the Stephen King book before I even begin to comment on it, but I have noticed that in all three of these books set in the past, I realize how much cell phones and internet have changed our lives.


1 comment:

Linda H. said...

I read this book last year. I got it with the intention of giving it to Katarina but (as if often the case) I read it first to see if it was a good book and/or a good match for her. Yes. It is definitely a "go back and read to catch the clues" books which is not really her thing at this time. Maybe in a year or two, when she is older. But I enjoyed it.