I have both the print and the audio versions of this book, and cannot believe that it took me until now to read either copy of this wonderful book that was published back in 2001! How to describe it? Adventure? Mystery? Fantasy? It is all of those, but mostly, a quest.
Set in the Midwest in the 1960's, this tale is told by 11 year old, asthmatic Reuben, starting with his own stillbirth, and miraculous resurrection by his father. An ordinary man, a school janitor, divorced and doing a fine job of raising his 3 children, who just happens to walk on air when he prays. The story moves to the Badlands when the father takes Reuben and his 9 year old sister Swede out of school to search for their 16 year old brother who has broken out of jail after being convicted of murdering the young men who were harassing the family. Here, moving from Jetstream & the FBI, to horseback and posse, it appears we are reliving a western, and indeed, in comes a relative of Butch Cassidy, and we learn what really happened to him and The Kid.
All the characters are entertaining, but none as much as Swede, who even at that young age is destined to be a marvelous writer, whose epic, rhyming poem of the Old West's Good Guys vs. Bad Guys is interspersed throughout the script. A delight, indeed.
A tragedy for sure, this is still a story of hope, love, and a belief in magic and family. A real page-turner.
I heard rave reviews about this book. Overall, I was pleased after reading it. I thought it was very good. But it was one of those books that started out great, slowed and dragged in the middle and ended great. It wasn't a waste of time, that's for sure, but it wasn't one of the best books I've ever read, like I heard it would be.
I know the book got rave reviews, but I didn't think it was so great. Parts of it were tiresome.
Humorous, devastating, spiritual -- what more could one ask for in a book? We read this in book club and most of the ratings were 7's, 8's and 9's (highest is 10). Highly recommended.
The narrative voice of the boy in this novel is stunning! Well written, compulsive-to-read...a friend recommended this to me to read right away, ahead of all my other books, and I do not regret it. Great fiction!