Stargirl

Dear J-

I upgraded Jerry Spinelli to just-read status a while ago, probably sometime after Maniac Magee and definitely after Space Station Seventh Grade.  So in other words I’ll pretty much read anything I can get my hands on, whether short story, novel, or grocery list.  I’m still not sure why it took so long to read Stargirl, though; it’s one of those I keep seeing and hearing about, but never quite getting a chance to sit down with the novel until today.

After getting back from a shopping trip this morning, everyone took a nap and I took the opportunity to work on a little homework (absurdly easy buoyancy problems) and read through the book.  There are characters you identify with, and others you wish you were, and still others you recognize as hiding deep in yourself — like any Spinelli novel, I suppose.  There are uncomfortable truths we have to face about ourselves, and I don’t think there’s one of us who’d feel completely comfortable supporting everything the eponymous Stargirl does.

Although the final work is perhaps not Spinelli’s strongest, the characters are memorable and the ending is a bit wistful as well:  that same what-if that plagues each of us when thinking back to the things we could have done.  Don’t let indecision ruin your plans, don’t be afraid to be laughed at, and most of all, don’t give up hope in your dreams.  Powerful stuff.

Mike

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