Why I read it: I bought this two or three years ago at the Fryeburg fleamarket because I needed something to occupy the boy with for a few hours (those trips to the fleamarket with my relatives can be interminable). And then, this book appeared on a list of good books that shouldn't be forgotten (get them out of your local library!) in the back of I think "The Thief" by Megan Whalen Turner. That moved it up the list. And then, I used it for a while as my carry around book. And then I just decided to finish it.
Bookmark: Mexican 50 peso note.
Tastes like chicken: While the intro referred a lot to Lewis Carroll, this seemed more like "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" to me.
What I liked: The magic was not treated like magic at all. Maybe it's because the main character starts out as eight years old, and is maybe 10 by the end. But the magic was just there, and treated like nature. There was a wonderful acceptance of the world just as it is, without trying to explain it that much.
What I hated: The voice was very different than people write now. And yet, it didn't bother me. It felt like a story meant to be read out loud, or told from memory. So, what I hate is actually that we've got this idea somehow that the only good stories are "show, don't tell" stories. Is this a fad? Are "show, don't tell" stories really better? Are we limiting the stories we can tell by making restrictions like "show, don't tell"? I realize this may be the storytelling equivalent of "keep your hip down" (which is what I'm always told in karate), and therefore I will always fight against it.
What I can steal: Turn your weaknesses into strengths, right? If I can't stop telling, then maybe I have to find a voice where telling works. Or maybe voice is just an excuse to start telling, not showing.
In other news: Apparently the Toronto Star Short Story Contest deadline is Dec 31. I should start working on that?