|Grand Traverse Lighthouse near Northport|
|Fishtown in Leland, Michigan|
The time with family was pure tonic and the Leelanau Peninsula is really quite magical. Magical realism--fantastical or unreal elements embedded in an ordinary, very realistic environment--plays a critical (and a wee bit confusing) part in the one book that I was able to finish on this vacation.
I love the portrait of small town life that Bone Gap paints. The residents of Bone Gap, Illinois are quite familiar with love and loss, magic and mystery, and regret and forgiveness. To 18 year-old outsider Finn O'Sullivan (Sidetrack and Spaceman are two of the names residents call him), Bone Gap "seemed to be cursed somehow, big losses salted with tiny tragedies almost too insulting to bear." And the latest loss hits very close to home for Finn and his older brother Sean. Roza, beautiful Roza from Chicago-via-Poland, Sean's love interest and town-favorite Roza, has disappeared from Bone Gap, where she showed up a year earlier, muddy and bruised, in the O'Sullivan barn. The people of Bone Gap know their town is full of gaps, gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever (just like Finn's and Sean's mother did), so Roza's being gone, well, that's just how things go. But Finn knows she was kidnapped by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. Searches turn up nothing and soon folks, Sean included, stop believing Finn. This DRAMATIC story is mostly told through the alternating voices of Finn and Roza (I can only say that Roza's story is eerie, frightening, and sometimes confusing), as well as the occasional voices of other Bone Gap residents. These include Priscilla (Petey) a strong, independent girl (and beekeeper) with whom Finn is exploring a relationship, Charlie Valentine, an eccentric keeper of chickens, and Finn's brother Sean, heartbroken and damaged. Memorable minor characters, including a really smart, enormous black horse that also mysteriously shows up in the O'Sullivan barn, help Ruby build a magically believable small town world. This GORGEOUSLY written story weaves together elements of folktales, myths, and suspense tales and asks us to consider just how much we're defined by how others see (or don't see) us. Bone Gap is also a love story in which one character wonders whether love is "seeing what no one else could." This is one great end-of-summer read.
I'm wondering...what have you read on your summer vacation. I mean, if you're a kid or teen on summer vacation. Or if you're an adult who had or will be taking a summer vacation. I'd really really like to know if you've read any of the books I've reviewed and recommended. If so, did you like the book(s)? Why? I'd even like to know if you read and then completely and thoroughly didn't like a book, or books, I wrote about. And why? I would like to hear from you. Do you have recommendations for me? I can see that the blog has had well over 500 page views, so yay! Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've read far more books than I've written about here. I plan to write a new post next week with some short, capsule reviews of books I highly recommend.