Story summary: Polly gets flesh eating disease and loses her eye. This other victim, a kid aptly named Odd, takes her on a fishing trip to take her mind of things. It turns into a road trip to Portland, with friendship and personal growth and all that.
- Deals with difficult life events like the loss of a limb or eye.
- Has an unusual friendship and complex character relationships.
- It's strange. The characters are strange, and pretty unhappy.
- And...I can't really criticize more than this, though not because it's necessarily very good. See after the break for more on this.
Whatever the case, I don't feel like I can properly critique it. C. S. Lewis has an excellent essay (which I can't find right now) about this sort of thing--about people who critique fantasy and science fiction for not being their preferred genre (likely literary fiction). Similarly, I can't fault this book for not being interesting to me, and I don't feel like I can really fault it for anything since it's so far outside my reading experience.
But saying that, if I were to critique anything, I would say I thought the characters should be more interesting. Odd was certainly odd, all right. And I felt like his strangeness should have been explained a little more, or made more sympathetic. I never really understood why Polly put up with some of the things he did. Maybe because she was just so fed up with her family and life at home?
Besides that, it had this certain... style ...that doesn't do anything for me, and in fact, kind of annoys me. I'm not sure I can explain it, but it shows up in a lot of Contemporary YA and a fair amount of literary fiction too. A certain poetical-ness, maybe? But less deep and abstract than the poetical works I normally enjoy. ... I don't know, I don't think that makes much sense. I'm going to keep thinking about it and see if I can analyze it properly.