Journey is eleven the summer his mother leaves him and his sister, Cat, with their grandparents. He is sad and angry, and spends the summer looking for the clues that will explain why she left.
Journey searches photographs for answers. He looks for family resemblances in Grandma's slbums. Looking for happier times, he tries to put together the torn pieces of the pictures his mother shredded before her departure. And he also searches the photographs his grandfather takes as the older man attempts to provide Journey with a past. In the process, the boy learns to look and finds that, for him, the camera is a means of finding things his naked eye has missed--things like the inevitability of his mother's departure and the love that still binds his family.
In this spare and remarkable novel, Patricia MacLachlan explores abandonment and the extraordinary means by which a family reassembles itself.
From the Hardcover edition.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Like Sarah, Plain and Tall , for which MacLachlan won the 1986 Newbery Award, this novel concerns a family trying to fill the gaping void left by the loss of a mother. And like that earlier masterpiece, this is a spellbinding tale, lean only in its length. The author's clipped dialogue and meticulously pared-down descriptions convey a deceptive simplicity--there are deep, intricate rumblings beneath the surface calm of MacLachlan's words. When his mother walks out on 11-year-old Journey and his older sister, Cat, the boy refuses to believe she will not return. He listens to the constant clicking of the shutter as his grandfather takes possession of Cat's cast-aside camera, asserting that "sometimes pictures show us what is really there." Journey questions the value of this incessant picture-taking, yet pores through his grandmother's photo album, trying to patch together a fragmented past that is frustratingly out of focus. He hopes that the truth will be found in a box of family photos that his mother left in tiny scraps under her bed. Setting out to piece the pictures back together, Journey finally admits that this dream is as hopeless as his mother's return. It is his grandfather, on whom Journey has taken out much of his anger, who eventually answers the child's most troubling questions. The wise older man assures Journey that he is not to blame for his mama's departure, and shares a truth that is at the heart of the novel: although everything in life--from photographs to families--is not perfect, "things can be good enough." Readers of all ages will find that MacLachlan's emotion-charged novel is far closer to being perfect than to being just "good enough." One turns the last page convinced that Journey's is, indeed, a complete family, and that this is a full and refreshing work. Ages 8-14.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Acting on the yearning expressed in the name she gave her son 11 years ago, Journey's mother has gone, leaving him with his grandparents and his older sister Cat. Mama sends money from time to time but no word or address. While Cat works out her distress by enlarging the farm garden, Journey struggles with his memories and tries to assign blame: Is it his fault that Mama left? Or is Grandfather, who's now preoccupied with snapping photos with the camera Mama also abandoned, an appropriate target for his anger? In supple, exquisitely economical style, MacLachlan (Sarah, Plain and Tall, Newbery Award, 1986) unfolds Journey's discoveries and insights along the way to his recognition that it's Grandfather--not the father who fled when he was a baby, not even Mama--who has always cared for him like a parent. In a symbolic act that Cat describes as ``murder,'' Mama ripped the family photos into tiny pieces that can never be rejoined; Grandfather is not only learning to take new photos but has found and is printing the old negatives. Meanwhile, a cat (``Bloom'') has insinuated herself into the family despite Grandma's aversion (she loves birds) and has given birth; and Journey has continued his friendship with Cooper, whose warm, happy family provides a healthy model: not perfect, but good enough--as Journey can finally describe their own family when Mama eventually telephones. Vintage MacLachlan: uniquely memorable people; a funny, pungent, compact, and wonderfully wise story. Illustrations not seen. (Fiction. 8+) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Dell Yearling, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 99107511