Monday, July 26, 2010

The Best Books I'd Never Read (Until Today): As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth

Vital statistics: As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins, all-around-awesome book.

I have had some vacations go horribly wrong in my life, but even my worst moments couldn't compare with Ry's summer.

What begins as an innocent trip to archaeology camp goes horribly awry as he first discovers the camp no longer exists, then manages to first lose his cell phone charge, then his train (along with backpack and majority of possessions), then a large quantity of blood (nosebleed), then one shoe, then the vision in one eye (he ran into a cable).

Meanwhile, his mother and father are on a sailing trip, out of touch, and having a "fabulous" time. Except for the mast breaking. And the twisted ankle. And the robbery.

And Ry's grandfather is concussed.

And missing.

And he isn't altogether sure where he is, except he may or may not have lost the dogs, if there were dogs at all.

(There were.)

The dogs are on their way to the old house, Incredible-Journey-style.

If they could remember where the old house was.

And since his family just moved...Ry can't very well depend on the neighbors to come to the rescue...

But in between all the losing, Ry does a lot of finding. He finds Del, for one, and the two embark on a family-finding, true-love-tracking adventure.

Here's my favorite quote, which I must share. It involves the replacement shoes Ry is forced to purchase following the loss of the aforementioned boot. The shoes in question are white lizard-skin loafers with gold chain (one chain is missing):

"The shoes were a metaphor for the decline of western civilization: crappy and glitzy and barely useful, but pretty comfortable. This is the narrator's opinion. Ry didn't think that thought specifically, but he felt as dispirited as if he had."

Oh--and it goes on!

"The contrast between the shoes and the striped tube socks was interesting. Probably a metaphor for something depressing, too. It looked as if a lawm mower-riding failed gambler in shorts with a potbelly should be attached to his legs."

It goes without saying that the above caused me to laugh hysterically, inhale sweet tea, and choke. But it was worth it.

Now that I've finished As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth, I'm reading Lynne Rae Perkin's novel Criss Cross--the one that won the Newbery Medal.

And if the Printz committee is paying attention to little old me...take a good long look at this one.*

*The above sentence is my way of saying, "Give this book LOTS of awards because it is GOOD and I LOVED it.

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