Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finished The Unfinished Angel or tribute to Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech does low density extremely well. If you have read her verse novels Love That Dog and Hate That Cat (poetry-hating boy MC) you know that she can tell a story with a minimum of words make you laugh and cry and love the people involved. She also has a lesser known novel in verse called Heartbeat(I loved it even more that Love That Dog. I think it is more appropriate for older audiences). Another excellent example of her pulling together all the plot points and having them line up so pleasingly in a minuscule amount of words. Sharon Creech won the Newberry in the early 90’s(?) for her book Walk Two Moons(I loved it then but couldn’t tell you much about it now) and has been faithfully writing and producing work ever since (and probably even before). She is perhaps the perfect example of a successful career in writing, relatively unknown and yet has been able to keep writing for the past 20 years or so. That is what I want.

The Unfinished Angel is not written in verse, but it is short, divided into small chapters and told from the point of view of an angel main character who doesn’t know the right words. As this angel tells us, angels are supposed to have all the words from all the languages and perhaps he has missed out on some training because there is a lot he doesn’t know. We never learn if he is really “unfinished” but it doesn’t matter because by the end everyone is more finished. The first person narration misspells and misspeaks and asks lots of questions. And the little Swiss Italian-speaking village he describes is perfectly ready for Creech’s confluence of events, resulting in a story which will make you cry and laugh and totally change opinions of all involved. You can finish the book in an hour. Or give this book to your tenacious yet slow-reading children because the book is artful and emotional and not dumbed down just because letters get jumbled up in their beautiful heads.

I love Sharon Creech. Thank god that she writes for me and my son.

What did I learn? It’s nice example of a narrator who doesn’t know much, limited first person? And, it doesn’t matter anyway, because I just want to internalize the short form someday. I will keep reading until I do.

As Always (Where did spell check go? Or am I the only one missing it?),