Saturday, February 11, 2012

All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky

All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky
By Joe R. Lansdale
Delacorte Press, 2011. 227 pgs. Teen fiction

Jack Catcher's life has taken a turn for the worse--living in the Dust Bowl, when "all the earth is thrown to the sky" and money is tight because of the Depression, is bad enough, but when his mother dies and his father, unable to deal with his grief, kills himself shortly after, Jack is suddenly all alone. So when Jane Lewis and her brother Tony stumble onto his land, en route to "borrow" an automobile from a dead man and take off to Texas, that sounds like a decent enough plan to Jack. Once they set out, though, they manage to find themselves caught up in a little more adventure than they'd planned on, since they're waylaid by gangsters making a getaway after a bank robbery.

This book seemed slightly far-fetched to me--these kids have a knack for getting into trouble with big-name crooks right and left--but it was still a good read. Lansdale did a good job showing the adventure and fun stuff but balancing it out with the harsh reality of life, and the language was spot on. I really enjoyed Jack as a narrator. Great choice for anyone interested in historical fiction or just a good example of storytelling. A very little bit of language, but not enough to bother most readers.

Just a few examples of the language that I enjoyed so much:
"It wasn't a big life, but it was a good life." (p. 8)
"I wasn't at all certain is was the right thing to do, but I was pretty certain it was the only thing to do." (p. 24)
"I decided then and there that Jane was about as big a blowhard as there was, but at the bottom of her buck there was something real." (p. 134)

4 stars.

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