Monday, November 7, 2016

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King- Book Review

First, let me thank my readers for sticking with me. I am having to teach 4 times a week, as well as work full time, so my reading has slowed a bit and much of my free time is devoted to getting the next class ready, so blogging has taken a small backseat. It will not be permanent though as one class will end in 3 weeks and it is a class taking the bulk of my time. So, thank you for sticking with my blog.

When I picked up this book, I didn't know what it was about. I half dreaded reading it because it is advertised as a YA novel and those are hit and miss with me. For example, I am reading Dumplin' which came highly recommended and I finding it pretty cliche with YA topics. Still Life with Tornado by AS King is not typical at all! In fact, it is extremely deep for an book book that wouldn't have the label YA. This is a great book and very powerful.

We walk with Sarah, who is told at age 16 that nothing in life is original by her art teacher, so she walks out of school looking for things that are real and original. She follows a homeless street artist, she goes to an abandoned school, and she just wanders the streets of Philadelphia (which is in itself a character in the book).

One might say she is having a midlife crisis, but she is only 16. As she wanders, her 10 year old self shows up and starts asking about her brother and a trip to Mexico. Chapters will be devoted to telling this story. Here 20 year old self also shows up. Her 20 year old self is sarcastic and pretty mean. She also meets her 40 year old self who is also going through a small crisis.

Throughout her journey and through her alternative selves, Sarah will learn about her life, come to know herself, and grow from her experiences. She will also learn what happened to her brother and figure out why she simply walks through life.

This is not a simple coming of age book. In many YA coming of age novels, a magical act or a wise person will help with the journey. In King's book, Sarah really struggles with herself- quite literally as her alternative selves are real- other people can see them and interact with them. Sarah's mother instantly recognizes 10 year old Sarah and desires to reconnect with this Sarah, while Sarah's dad cannot figure out who 10 year old Sarah is. Sarah's struggle is very real and she must go into deep places to find herself.

This book begins one way and by the end of journey one will be in a different place completely. That was a sign of the great writing that King offers. The story changes as Sarah grows and learns. The story takes hard sharp turns in a graceful way that stay true to Sarah's story. I loved this book. I read it so slowly because I wanted to savor it. This has to be one of my favorite books of the year.

I gave this one 4.5 stars.

Here is your Amazon link- Still Life with Tornado by AS King

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