Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I remember reading The Mysterious Island many years ago and enjoying it.  It was good, no doubt about it, I mean Jules Verne had written it.  Adventure, survival, and all that stuff that Verne tells so well, but it wasn't discernably memorable.  I could confuse it with Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Wyss's Swiss Family Robinson, or even Stevenson's Kidnapped.  How many ways can you tell survival after being shipwrecked on a small island? Even the masters' stories begin to blend.  Then he put one piece of magic into the book near the very end, Captain Nemo.  That character has transcended time, as shown by the title of the popular coral reef movie, Finding Nemo, and the 2003 blockbuster movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman.  We all connect with Captain Nemo.  We love his daring, bravado, and ability to go where no one else can follow.  Though in The Mysterious Island his part is small, almost ghostlike, and comes at the end, just mentioning him turns the water of the oceans into a dynamic playground wrought with treasure.  The 'mysterious island' stops seeming removed from civilization.  It is connected by the most famous of all submarines, The Nautilus.  Instead of being a deserted, lost place, the island is the safe harbor of The Nautilus.

Stead writes a memorable, terrific story, but if she doesn't include the tesseract it doesn't win the Newbery.  But she did include it and the story became quilted together with all of L'Engle's work.  It is the magic that makes Stead's novel discernably memorable.  How do you feel about fan fiction? Like Seuss says, "An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!" and if someone wants to fantasize other scenarios for memorable fictional people and places, I am all for it.  

I apologize to Rebecca Stead for this next comment, but ... here goes.  Can you win the Newbery Award for fan fiction? I agree, it was one of the best books of the year, if not the best.  But, it was the best book of the year because it included the tesseract.  

Did When You Reach Me win or did A Wrinkle in Time win for the second time? I am still faithful one hundred percent, I loved the story.

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