Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: "The Giant's House" by Elizabeth McCracken

Got a bit of an interesting book for you today.

Peggy is a small town librarian in Cape Cod. When the book starts it's 1950 and she's 25 years old. She's unmarried and her life is pretty much wrapped around her work at the library. One day a twelve year old boy comes in with a local elementary school class. She notices him right away, probably because he's twelve and is 6 foot 4 inches tall. His name is James Sweatt and he begins to come into the library frequently. They become friends and she helps him find books on all kinds of topics, including what "people like him do". (Peggy thinks that he's asking what they do occupation-wise, but he's really asking what do they do to stop growing. Spoiler alert: nothing)

He and Peggy grow close over the years, and she becomes basically a part of his family. He lives with his Aunt Caroline and his Uncle Oscar. They are lovely people and welcome Peggy into their family, and appreciate the help and companionship that she provides for James. Their relationship grows and changes over the years but they are each others best friends and extremely important in each other's lives.

At the end of the book James has just turned 20, he is eight feet and 7 inches tall, and weighs 417 pounds.

Elizabeth crafts these really lovely sentences. Here's an example:
"I understood, finally: tourists don't take pictures as souvenirs. They want to assemble a new country to tour after that they outfit with the best parts of the last place...The photographer is native and stranger in his glossy dream city, invisible but significant, as natives and strangers often are"

Another great one is when she's talking about rude patrons who refuse to pay their fines at the library:
"Listen: in my library, as in the Kingdom of Heaven, the rude and busy are not rewarded. We honor manners, patience, good deeds, and grave misfortune only"

I thought that this book would weird me out because of the age difference. It really didn't. The par that weirded me out was the end. Not necessarily the end, but like the ten pages before the last most ten pages, if that makes sense.Its not that I thought that it was bad but it was just like wooooooah. One of my favorite things about the book (at least the edition that I was reading) the book was just a little bit oversized, just like our friend James. The book was 6 inches  by 9.5 inches which was just proportionally weird enough to be noticed and appreciated but not that it made the book uncomfortable to read. I thought that it was clever and I liked it. The only thing gets a high 3 out of 5 stars from me!

Also a library-centric cover to go with it's oversizeness. Adorable.

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