Sunday, August 1, 2010

Caudill entry: Trouble by Gary Schmidt

Trouble by Gary Schmidt is set in present day Massachusetts and Maine. Much darker and more serious than his previous books (Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy), this book explores themes as varied as family, friendship, refugees, car accidents, grief, the power of love and redemption. 14 year old Henry Smith's family dates back to the 1600's. Henry's "father always said that if you build your house far enough away from Trouble, then Trouble will never find you". Henry has grown wealthy and privileged. His older brother, Franklin, is the "perfect son", accomplished scholar athlete destined for greatness. His older sister, Louisa, equally accomplished lives with Henry in the shadow of this brother. A terrible car accident, plunges the family into a turmoil that sets young Henry on a course that will change them all forever. Early in the story, Henry saves a drowning dog that he keeps. Her high spirits and zest for life will prove an important part of Henry's personal growth. Coupled with "Black Dog" as she gets named is the welcome comic relief of Henry's best friend, Sanborn. Both these characters buoy Henry and the reader along through a richly written adventure not soon forgotten.

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