Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Next I moved on to Black Juice by Margo Lanagan, the collection of short stories that won a Printz honor this year (the book on the award list I hadn't heard of). It's also required for class this week. Although I was anxious to remedy my ignorance of this title, I have to admit that I failed.
I actually think this is probably a pretty good collection of short stories. Judging by the discussion about it in my class, many enjoyed it, and think it would be great to use in a high school classroom. This is probably true, and, as a professional, I really should force myself to finish it. But I'm not a short story fan (forced to read them in school & hated them!), but I forced myself to read the first three stories, then let myself put it down. There are too many books out there that I want to read to force myself to read one I just don't like!
Anyway, in all fairness, I need to say again that this is a promising collection as short stories go. The stories are strange and unusual (sometimes downright weird, as in the case of "Red Nose Day") and will probably catch and hold the attention of some teens, particularly if they are offered these in a classroom (I mean, consider the alternatives...). They are fantasy-like stories, although I'm not sure I'd actually call them fantasy. That was part of my problem with them, actually - I couldn't figure out when or where things were happening - is this another culture? Another time? Another reality? Another PLANET? Because the setting seemed to change with each story, I quickly became frustrated. Some kids might feel the same way, others might not mind it at all. Made me crazy, though.

Lanagan, Margo. Black Juice. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 0060743905 $15.99.


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