Monday, May 3, 2010

Spreading the Awesome: Sharon Creech's LOVE THAT DOG

You guys know Elana, right? How could you not...she's a blogging rockstar. Anyway, Elana came up with an awesome idea to link together a series of blog posts on author's favorite books, books they would give 10 out of 5 stars to. There's a whole chain of us doing this. So, if you came from Nichole's blog then keep clicking on through to Julia's blog next...and keep going through the chain, since many bloggers are also giving away copies of their favs!

So, the premise is to feature a book that we loved, that, in Elana's words, "a book you wish you could shout from your rooftop, 'This book is so $&%*# good it deserves 10 stars!'" A few books popped immediately into my mind--and if you've been reading this blog for a bit, you could probably pinpoint some of the usual suspects. 

But.

There's this other book. One that I don't think gets enough attention. One that really moved me--I laughed and cried, and I've been thinking about it for months--nearly a year--after I first read it.

It's not my normal book that I love. It's a bit younger than my typical YA--I can see an elementary student easily reading this. It doesn't have kissing or bombs or explosions or new worlds or fairies or aliens or cussing or zombies or anything like that.

But.


It's nothing like what I should like. It's not like any other book at all on my shelf, it's not the kind of book I could write...

But.

It's a novel of poetry--a kid's experiment in journaling stemming from his teacher's assignment. The kid, Jack, doesn't really believe in poetry...and in a lot of ways, neither do I. Don't get me wrong--I appreciate good poetry. But whether it's a result of having taken too many stuffed-shirt college courses on the subject, or from drowning in ceaseless cliched teen angst poetry from my students, I'm often skeptical of any novels in verse.

But.

The book centers around a particular poem that I hate. It's William Carlos William's poem about the wheelbarrow--a poem that one of those stuffed-shirt college professors loved, but that I always thought was stupid. And even though the narrator, Jack, also thinks the poem is a bit silly at first, there's no denying that this poem--perhaps my most hated poem of all poems ever--is the center and heart of this book.

But.
 
It's a quiet book. A short read. Simple. There's depth to it, certainly--a twist at the end that ties all the poetic strings together. And there's emotion. You guys know I hate to cry. I hate to cry so much that when I hurt my foot and cried, my husband was willing to carry me to the ER--he'd never seen me cry before, and thought it was something really serious. And this book made me cry.
I should have hated it.
 
But.

But the words.

Oh, how they are beautiful.

I can't help it. When I think back of all the books I've read recently, if I had to pick just one that really moved me...it would be this one.

Perhaps the only thing that made me pick this one off the shelf was that it was about a dog, and I love dogs. Everything else--the verse, the tone, the age level, the style, the plot, the premise, even the final twist--all that was stuff that I normally hate in a book. Stuff that I avoid, that I roll my eyes at, that I warn people from reading.

But not this one.

This is the one book that I would hand to you no matter who you are. 

Because I know you'll love it, too.






Spread the awesome! Keep the recommendation chain going: go to Julia's blog next!
 
So...what's the ONE book that you want to shout about from the rooftops?

39 comments:

Slamdunk said...

This sounds like a great read. Funny how you dislike the feature poem so much though.

Enjoy your day.

Matthew Rush said...

Wow, this book sounds really cool in a very different way.

Thanks for sharing Beth!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

All right, I'm convinced. I want to read it now. :) I hate crying too - I didn't used to, but I think I do now. I always avoid those movies/books that make me tearful. I think it started when Sirius died... crying just wasn't fun anymore. :(
Anyway, great review. :D

Jen said...

Wow Beth this sounds really good, what a cute title!!! I loved it just from the title, hehe!

Bish Denham said...

Yep, I agree. This is an excellent book. Gave me chills as I read it.

India Drummond said...

It's not the sort of book I would usually read either, but it does sound like a good one for its age group!

Katie said...

I have to say, the cover alone makes me want to read this one. But now that you've told me about it I am convinced!

Miriam S. Forster said...

Wow, this definitely something I should read! Thanks!

Also, I am not a stuffed shirt, and I don't care that much about theme and structure in poetry, but I do like that red wheelbarrow poem.

I just love the compact language WCW uses, and how I can see that wheelbarrow in my head as clearly as if I were standing next to it.

Marcia said...

Excellent post. This book is so good, in other words, that even though it's everything you hate about books all rolled into one, you thought it was 10-star good. Any book that can do that should be read by writers for the power of its instruction alone. Creech is not a favorite author of mine, but now I know I'll pick this up. Thanks!

Kelly said...

Wow. I do need to read this. I love that it is based on a poem you didn't like, yet you love the book! Excellent review. I'm sold.

Natalie said...

This looks like my kind of read. I'll have to add it to my list. Thanks for the recommendation.

Carolyn V. said...

Okay Beth, I'm grabbing this book and a box of tissue! Thanks for the review. =)

Lydia Kang said...

Hmm. I always thought WCW was a little stuffy too, now I want to read this book! Thanks for the heads up!

Janet Johnson said...

Sharon Creech is amazing. Definitely on my list.

JEM said...

I feel like we all get on this same wavelength or something. I kid you not, I have half a post written from last week about books that have overtaken my life, and Walk Two Moons is definitely on that list. What an awesome idea, and I love love LOVE Sharon Creech. Thanks for the reco!

Suzette Saxton said...

I love this author! Especially the book Walk Two Moons. Thanks for the recommendation!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Sorry you normally hate verse. ;)

I'm embarrassed to say I've never read this one and MUST.

Theresa Milstein said...

It's funny that you say that about poetry. I feel like I can't adequately judge what's good or bad. But also you had such a wonderful poem in your previous post.

I'll check out the book. My son is graduating to YA and my daughter is graduating to MG, so they may like it too.

Nisa said...

What a moving review! All those buts in there just make it stronger. Happy Monday!

Demon Hunter said...

I have to get back to you on that one book. That's a hard decision. :-D

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

What a great review! I loved your approach to it. So well done. This sounds like a book to bring home and share with my kids as well. Thanks for the recommendation, Beth.

Nichole Giles said...

Sounds like a great read, and maybe one my nine-year-old son would love. I'm going to have to check it out. Thanks!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh, I'd heard of this one before. Must check it out!

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

Wow. I hadn't even heard of this, but I DEFINITELY have to read it now. Thanks so much for sharing. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Wow, you've really gotten me curious about this book now!

Christine Fonseca said...

I LOVED this book! Great choice

Kathy McCullough said...

I love this book too. It made me cry. I've recommended it to many.

Christina Lee said...

ooohhh this sounds like a good one, Beth!!

Angie said...

You've certainly got me curious about this book. Library, here I come.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Sharon Creech always has the best covers. The content is even better! Thanks for hugging her.

Karen Lange said...

Thanks for the info on this book. Had never heard of it but it sounds interesting. :)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Fantastic review, Beth! I look forward to reading it :))

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, Beth! I adore this book. I read it to every class, every semester of every year. I give it away at teacher trainings and workshops. I buy every copy I find at thrift stores. Love, love, love it! What a great choice for today. :-)

Angela said...

The best books are the ones that don't leave us. I'm looking forward to reading this one. :)

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, I must read this. I adore Sharon Creech. And what a fabulous review, Beth!

Casey McCormick said...

Powerful review, Beth! Thank you for sharing this book with us. : )

B.J. Anderson said...

I love the cover, and from your description, I think I will love the book. Ok, I'm adding it to my mile-long list.

Heather Zundel said...

I love this. I love that you picked an unknown book few have heard of (I certainly hadn't). I love that it is a book by all other means you should loathe. The fact that it met all of those walls and overcame them says something significant about the quality of the work.


All of that you said, it is more than enough for me to want to read it.

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