Flight by Sherman Alexie

The kids and Joel left for a week in WV on Thursday.  It is now Sunday, and I am just now getting around to sitting down to read an entire book.  What have I been thinking?  This book, Flight by Sherman Alexie, is another one salvaged from the McCallie throwaway bins, so I had deal with the fact that some poor boy had underlined the bejeezus out of it.  I count it as a significant achievement that I not only read the whole thing in a few hours (it's only 181 pages, so not much of an accomplishment, really) but erased the unnecessary markings as well.  Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on what side of the moving van you're standing on, I will keep this one.  In fact, I may even teach it.  It has a lot of good stuff to say about American Values, and the style is infectious.  I think my students will respond better to the language and action that troubled me.  I say it troubled me not because I think the violence or expletives were gratuitous or extraneous.  In fact, they troubled me because they felt so True and necessary to tell this story.  I wish it were not so, but it is.

Alexie's main character, Zits, carries this narrative beautifully, and even though it is intentionally unrealistic, you never feel that it strays from believability.  You want Zits to succeed.  You want him to learn from a past where others have failed to see.  You want him to be saved.  So, where the ending could start to feel a little after-school-special, it somehow doesn't.  You want it to be true, so it is.

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