Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway last week. The winner of the ARC of Possession by Elana Johnson is... Heather Reid! Congratulations, Heather, and please email us (weheartya at gmail dot com) with your mailing address.

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Yesterday I started (and finished) reading Room by Emma Donoghue, a brilliant book that is now among my all-time favorites. It’s about a young woman who is kidnapped from her college and kept captive in a shack for 7 years, during which time she gives birth to a son named Jack. Surprisingly, the story is told from Jack’s point of view.

Sadly, the book’s premise is not entirely fictional. A number of real-life headlines bear striking similarity. But because of the unexpected perspective that Donoghue chose, Room is able to avoid wallowing in misery, melodrama, or discomfort. Jack is a happy, intelligent child, and through his eyes we are able to see not only his world but also our own, in fresh and enlightening ways.

"The wind makes the leaves go swishy swishy. I hear a kid shout, maybe in another yard behind the big hedge or else he's invisible. God's yellow face has a cloud on top. Colder suddenly. The world is always changing brightness and hotness and soundness, I never know how it's going to be the next minute. The cloud looks kind of gray blue, I wonder has it got rain inside it."

"I kiss her face where the tears are, that's how the sea tastes."

So that got me thinking about perspectives, and how every story can be fresh if we just find the right point of view to tell it from.

Another good example is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. The story is about a man fighting to keep his family intact, but it’s told from the point of view of his dog. As an animal-lover I may be biased, but trust me, Enzo is positively charming.

Last but not least is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Needless to say, this isn’t the first book about World War II, and it won’t be the last, but it’s the only one I know of that’s narrated by Death. Yes, the Grim Reaper himself. And oh what an interesting view he has…

Room The Art of Racing in the Rain The Book Thief

As a reader/writer, I’m wondering: Do y’all know any other good books that are told from an unusual perspective? (Any YA books? Interestingly, The Book Thief is marketed as YA in America but adult fiction in its native Australia.)

As a fellow human being, I say: Take a good look at the world around you, and try to see it through someone else’s eyes.

KH

9 comments:

Lauren M said...

I agree--different points of view can really make a book special! I'll be reading Room this fall for a lit class, so I'm excited to dive into the mind of a young boy.

In terms of recommendations, LIAR by Justine Larbalestier definitely brings an interesting point of view--the narrator is a teen girl, but she's a compulsive liar, and constantly changes her story. Thus, the reader is never sure what's actually happening.

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Shell Flower said...

I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain. Aww...Enzo. Room and The Book Thief are both on my to reads, too. Another interesting point of view in a book is The Lovely Bones since the MC is a dead girl.

linda said...

Great points! I haven't read any of the books you mention in the post... I guess I need to go read them now. :)

Pseudo said...

The Curious Incident of the dog in the Night. that was interesting. POV from an autistic boy.

I've been wanting to read Room for awhile. My bookclub was going to pick it last month, but it has a long waiting list at the library.

Heather Reid said...

I loved Room! I couldn't get Jack's voice out of my head for days after I'd finished.

Ingrid said...

I adored The Art of Racing in the Rain, and the other two are on my list. I also like it when each chapter is told from a different character's POV. Right now I'm thinking of a MG book I read to my son last year... Gordan Korman's Schooled. We both loved it.

We Heart YA said...

@Lauren M-
Oh, thanks, Liar sounds good.

@Shell Flower-
Yes, great example! We loved The Lovely Bones.

@Linda-
We think you'll like them. :)

@Pseudo-
Oh, yeah, we forgot about that one. We should check it out... Jodi Picoult's House Rules has multiple POVs, and one is from an autistic teenage boy.

@Heather-
Neither could Kristan! (The others of us haven't read it yet.)

@Ingrid-
Yep, I dig multiple POVs too. When they're done well and differentiated, that is.

chelleyreads said...

What an interesting post. I've read The Book Thief and I loved how it was told in Death's POV. I totally agree--different points of view are really interesting, so I'll definitely have to check out those other two books you recommended.

Happy reading:)
-leslie

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Transparent
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
Bitterblue
The Fault in Our Stars
Pretties


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