Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Book Review: Criss Cross

Criss Cross, by Lynne Rae Perkins, was a 2005 Newbery Award winner. The Horn Book wrote of it: "Like a lazy summer day, the novel induces that exhilarating feeling that one has all the time in the world." I guess my perception of it was a bit different.  It did meander like a lazy summer day. It was an okay read, but merely okay. For the most part it felt like a stream-of-consciousness philosophizing about life. With no beginning, middle, or end, no plot to speak of, I longed for a destination and for more excitement than simple ruminations about lightning bugs, life, and love. There were moments of splendor, a few instances where the words felt beautiful, but it still didn't seem to be award worthy.

How to even summarize? Debbie is hoping something will happen to her soon. Set in the 1960s, the story is full of platform shoes and bell bottom jeans which graze the pavement. The various characters meander through life experiencing crushes on the opposite sex, contemplations of the meaning and purpose of life, and confusions over how to present the self to others. With no real action propelling it forward, it simply lallygagged through deep and shallow waters. I've read better Newbery winners than this.

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