Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The Great Unexpected, by Sharon Creech
One fateful day, a boy falls out of a tree right in front of Naomi. She's not sure if he's real or not-real, so she is happy when her friend Lizzie comes by and lets her know that she can indeed see this boy laying unconscious on the ground. Where Naomi dwells in the quiet places, Lizzie fills the air with her words, which can be both comforting and bothersome at once. She fusses over the boy when he comes to, and worries after "Finn boy" who says that he is staying up on the hill with the dim Dimmenses.
Finn has awoken something in Naomi, and she finds that she cannot stop thinking about him. Each time she runs into him she asks Finn about his life, but he would much prefer to talk to Naomi about hers. He seems odd, however, visiting the folks in town that others normally steer clear of - folks like Crazy Cora, or Witch Wiggins. When Finn asks Naomi where he can find Elizabeth Scatterding, who just happens to be Naomi's Lizzie, she finds herself consumed with jealousy.
Meanwhile over in Ireland, Sybil and her caretaker Miss Pilpenny are plotting revenge. Living at Rook's Orchard, Sybil has enlisted the help of a solicitor to help her with the perfect plan. There is a Finn boy who used to live there, as well.
Creech has woven together a magical story about family and friendship and the ties that bind. Each character, no matter how seemingly small is tied to another, and readers will find themselves spell bound from considering the ways in which this is possible in their own lives. Naomi herself often wonders about the connections between people and places -
"But I thought about all the things that had to have spun into place in order for us to be alive and for us to be right there, right then. I thought about the few things we thought we knew and the billions of things we couldn't know, all spinning, whirling out there somehow." (p 223 arc)
The Great Unexpected is a story that defies categorization in terms of story and of audience. Found within its pages are mystery and magic, old and young, boys and girls, rich and poor. I just finished it an hour ago, and I already want to read it again!