Last year I wrote and finished a manuscript in close third person. It’s like first person, but you’re more like a camera that hovers near your MC’s eyes. It”s quite elegant writing if done right. Before starting my project I read several books written in this way. One of my favorites was Small as an Elephant.
Since I am ready for a rewrite of my own close 3rd person manuscript, I re-read Jennifer Jacobson’s novel last week to get me in the correct writing frame of mind. I’m glad I did as it allowed me to step back and observe the writing.
Your emotions will twist and turn as you follow Jack trying to find home and his mom who abandoned him. In this day of Amber Alerts and cell phones, I first had reservations about the plot and could a child be on the run for so long. Jack though makes everything very believable.
The author has another family contemporary MG story out last month, PAPER THINGS. It’s back to the more familiar first person POV and I am looking forward to also reading that one soon.
PUBLICATION DATE:2011 WORD COUNT: 47,985 READING LEVEL: 5.3
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and “spinning” wildly until it’s over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself – starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties – and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT SMALL AS AN ELEPHANT by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
- Jack has a love of elephants and his passion is a central theme of the story. Each chapter begins with an interesting quote or fact about this huge creature. I will look at elephants differently from now on.
- I had anticipated the ending but not the way it was written. Surprises for sure.
- Jack must do things he normally wouldn’t do like steal. He’s very torn though with every decision he must make. Jack’s a good kid thrown into an awful situation.
- Mental illness has been explored before in MG books (Waiting for Normal was the last one I read). It brings light to the upheaval brought to families and the emotional scars left. I’m more hopeful for those in need after books of this type.
- Jack’s adventure takes him to some unique hideouts. There’s only one that is very appealing – the remaining locations will have you cringing.
FAVORITE LINES:“Of course you can read a book for grown-ups, Jack. You’re a smart kid,” his mom had said. “Read a chapter to me.”
He had, skipping over a bad word or two, and she had smiled.
QUOTE FROM AUTHOR: “I struggled to figure out how Jack, an abandoned boy, would survive – not in the wilderness, but in civilization. I physically traced Jack’s route (every place he visits actually exists) and tried to imagine what the journey would be like for an eleven-year-old, entirely on his own, and with a big secret to keep.”
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.