Saturday, July 15, 2006
by Ram Munoz Ryan. This is a charming book. It starts out “I always thought the biggest problem in my life was my name, Naomi Soledad Leon Outlaw, but little did I know that it was the least of my troubles, or that someday I would live up to it."
On the next page she continues: “There we were, minding our lives with the same obedience as a clock ticking. A few weeks earlier the sun had switched to its winter bedtime, so even though it was early evening, the sky was dark as pine pitch.”
The story begins with an unexpected knock on their door. It is told from the point of view of Naomi, a fifth grade girl who lives in a trailer park in CA with her little brother and great-grandmother. When her mom re-appears out of nowhere, her world turns upside down. The language is beautiful and poetic, full of colloquialisms and vibrant description. The main themes are of family, love and fear, loyalty, struggle, integrity. This is the kind of book that reminds grown-ups that children think and feel just as deeply and profoundly as adults, and adults dream and fear and hope with the same passion as children. I hated for the story to come to an end, and am still thinking of it, wondering what happens next. Find this one and spend an afternoon or two engrossed and delighted.