Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hope Was Here

I feel like the big grown up bully attacking the cute, freckled face kid on the playground with this review. However, as a Newberry Medal Honor Book, the playground kind of turns more into a raquetball court and the kid has to be good to play in it. Consider me goggled, racquet in hand, and donning my wrist sweat bands for serious play.

I really don't understand how this is a Newberry Medal Honor Book. The characters were flat and one-dimensional, the plot predictable and the message was dangerously simplified. I'm left to guess what age group Bauer wrote this for. The abandonment issues the protagonist, Hope, experiences are too mature for young elementary age and older, middle school and high school aged adolescents certainly can grasp the concept of a flawed character or even impure motives. She most certainly didn't write it for a 32 year-old moderate who found the obvious bias of kind-hearted liberal vs. heartless, evil conservative over-the-top and unhelpful for any honest discussion about politics.

I didn't hate it. How can you hate G.T. and his good-guy-leukemia-fighter-town-fixer-upper-cook self? I couldn't. I couldn't even hate Hope, and her far-older-than-actual-sixteen-year-old-mentality even though I never understood her, or her motivation to become so politically involved (because the author never let us know that. She just wrote Hope that way).

I'll take off my goggles now and lob poor freckled face a few serves. It was a nice story. The boy got the girl. The good guy wins. The food was good and hot. The end.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Funny. I read this book just two years ago and I can't remember how I felt about it. I suppose that supports your thought that it isn't quite medal-worthy. I know I didn't dis-like it, but I literally can't remember my reaction to it. Thank goodness, now I have a blog, so I won't forget so much about my response to books! Ha!