Friday, November 20, 2015

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt

Gary Schmidt is a masterful writer. I've read and enjoyed The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now, so I was looking forward to reading his award-winning Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.

Turner Buckminster is the preacher's son who has just moved to Phippsburg, Maine. He has trouble making friends until he meets Lizzie, a young girl who lives on a nearby island. She is a descendant of former slaves; the good folks of Phippsburg do not look kindly on their mixed-race friendship. The painful lessons he learns as a result of choosing to go against public opinion help Turner to grow into a man.

This felt like a Dicken's novel much of the time because there were many odious people in it. I read the first half of the book in small chunks so as not to be overcome by the bleakness.Thankfully, grace is extended by some of the townspeople and others learn to be more loving and forgiving than before. The story is beautifully written with vibrant characters. Lizzie Bright is especially delightful.

Even though, I'm glad I read it, I was disappointed in two things: its positive take on Darwin's writings and it's unmitigated sadness, which made it too heavy for a children's book.

Has anyone else read this? What did you think?

1 comment:

Sherry said...

I haven't read it. I just bought a used copy, and I'm looking forward to reading it soon. I hope I don't find it too depressing. I'm also looking forward to reading Schmidt's latest, Orbiting Jupiter, but I've read reviews that say that it is emotionally devastating, too. Maybe Mr. Schmidt just leans hat direction? Okay for Now is fairly sad and bleak, but there is a sense of hope, too.