First up today (others in future days): Terry Pratchett’s Nation.
Okay. That’s a shoo-in, you say. It won a Printz Honor. And Pratchett is sooo funny.
Well Nation has its bit of humor—but it’s mostly about a boy who loses everything and a girl who almost loses everything as a result of a tsunami, and how they both survive. It’s also about colonialism and intelligence and love and duty and religion and life. It’s a big book with ideas wrapped in a strong plot and carried by fabulous characters.
I didn’t want to read Nation. Another Robinson Crusoe, I thought. White girl meets brown boy and teaches him white ways. Ick.
So I let others around me read Nation. “It’s great,” they kept telling me. “It’s the best Pratchett has written.”
Okay. I’d give it a try. I could manage a few pages, I thought. Steel myself for the ick. But then I was pulled in. The writing captured me. I am, it is true, a complete sucker for good writing. So, maybe this would be another Robinson Crusoe, I thought, but at least the writing would keep me entertained, and I could write a vicious review.
But it’s not. It’s not about white girl meets brown boy and teaches him white ways. It’s not even about brown boy meets white girl and teaches her brown ways. It’s about communication. It’s about upending your world and seeing it anew.
This is a good book. A really good book. Read it.