Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Jumper" by Steven Gould

Why I read it: The boy had bought the movie tie-in cover, so it's been around the house for more than a year. He's read it twice. Ed has also read it twice. When I was explaining to the boy about Viable Paradise, he was quite jealous that I was going to get to meet SG, and asked if he could come too. I told him he had to go to school. So anyway, since I got into VP, it seemed logical to read some books by some of the instructors.

My sister asked if this book was by the famed (dead) naturalist. Um, no.

Bookmark: marketing for Uhuru Street by MG Vassanji

Tastes like chicken: On Wednesday, the boy was casting about for something to read, so I pulled out a few things. One of them was "On a Pale Horse" by Piers Anthony. On Friday he asked me to pull out the other six, which fortunately we have. I know lots of people malign Piers Anthony for being a hack and writing weak, lame, sexist female characters and writing four books a year, and especially for those ridiculously self-absorbed author's notes that he puts in, but there are not that many other authors that can appeal to a teenaged boy. Jumper is another one of those, kind of a thriller for late teens.

What I liked: The beginning was awesome. Hayden Christiansen wrecked the next section, before we got to the terrorist stuff. He played the main character in the movie, and I couldn't stop hearing him whine the dialog. The boy suggested I replace him in my brain with a different actor. I tried Hayden Panettiere. It created a totally different effect, that's for sure. That problem went away when the terrorist/hijacker storyline developed.

This book had really good sense of place, lots of detail about places, which was important to the character, because he had to have a good mental image of a place in order to be able to get back there.

Not so much: Some of the relationship/dialog sections made me uncomfortable, and in the terrorist-chasing sections, sometimes I had to put it down in order to de-stress.

Lesson: We were trying to guess, over dinner last night, since everyone has read this book, who was the target audience. Ed's guess was the movie producers, so it could get made into a movie. The boy disagreed with that, because the movie was so different from the book. I disagreed because there was so much time between when the book was written and when the movie came out.

Maybe the lesson is that there are books out there for teenaged boys, and the problem isn't the publishers, it's the bookstore people, who make the displays.

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