I finished a book today! In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith. Since there are apparently a billion Andrew Smith’s out there, it’s the Andrew Smith who wrote the best rugby book of 2013 Winger and the I’m not comfortable talking about it without at least a drink in me Stick.
There are three brothers. Matthew is a soldier in Vietnam. Jonah and Simon are his younger brothers and they live in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico. Their mother abandons them and their father is incarcerated in Arizona. Jonah and Simon depart on a journey hoping to meet up with Matthew in Arizona. The journey is the story.
Jonah and Simon start their journey on a horse. The horse does not make it very far. Then they get picked up by Mitch and Lily. Mitch is odd and Lily is pregnant. Oh, and there’s a metal sculpture of Don Quixote already in the back seat of the car. The five of them head west — but stuff happens.
The writing. Oh, the writing. As readers we get to share a bit of intimacy with the author through the words on the page. Sometimes that’s boring or regrettable. Some books you pick up and you go through the motions and at the end… are you faking it? Is the author? Was reading the book something you’ll admit to? Or are you embarrassed about it?
Those are probably books that you don’t blog about.
In the Path of Falling Objects wasn’t an easy book for me to read. That’s probably more of a testimony to Andrew Smith’s writing chops than anything else. Jonah and Simon have their faults. They seem like realistic characters and their relationship and the conflict between them as siblings was believable and appropriate. (In contrast, the sibling relationships in House of Secrets did not feel realistic to me.) This isn’t a funny vampire story. This isn’t a romantic billionaire ties me up with a neck tie and swats my fanny because he has control issues story.
This is the story of a long difficult journey and I think we all end up better for it. I’m including me the reader in that we. I was told to read this book because a character from it is in the upcoming Grasshopper Jungle. And since I can’t read Grasshopper Jungle yet, I am doing what I can to be prepared for the moment when I can read Grasshopper Jungle. Because I keep on hearing about how great Grasshopper Jungle is.
…I gave In the Path of Falling Objects by Andrew Smith four stars on goodreads. I didn’t really leave a review because I couldn’t give a quick off the cuff explanation. The book feels like something that should be assigned reading in schools as literature.