Sunday, June 20, 2010

THE SKATING POND



This Berkley paperback was published in 2003 and copyrighted to Deborah Joy Corey. I know, I know, it doesn't SOUND piscatorial, BUT WAIT UNTIL YOU READ IT.

CLIFFIE'S NOTES ON ZE BOOK:

>> The story is set entirely on Deer Isle, Maine, so the characters are pretty much SURROUNDED BY WATER. Dad owns a fishing boat, mom traveled across the ocean from Canada to be with him, and the protagonist, Elizabeth, has essentially NEVER BEEN OFF THE ISLAND IN HER LIFE. She never learns to drive in the course of this story, so if she ever does leave, she's going by boat. At one point in her life she's running 14 miles a day, but does she cross the Deer Isle Bridge? Oh, no. She circles back and heads back to the center of the island. This place is all she has, and all she wants.

>> One thing I want you to notice is how in the course of this story, this girl LOSES JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING BUT THE ISLAND. First her sister is kicked out of the family and sent to live with an aunt. Then dad sells their fishing boat. Then mom takes a hockey puck in the forehead and is never the same again. Then dad's personality -- never that delightful to begin with -- starts to really, really slide. Elizabeth is more and more isolated.

>> The other thing I want you to notice is that because Elizabeth stays put on Deer Isle, only venturing off on a boat, SHE STAYS OK. You sure can't say that for the rest of the cast and crew, the ones who leave. Even mom gets worse every time she seeks medical treatment over the bridge.

>> Where does Elizabeth find happiness? Right there on the island, is where. She never seems to finish school or get a trade or even know how to raise her own kids, but one things she does cheerfully is head out to the ocean in Michael's fishing boat. When not fishing, she appears to be reading about fish. Or cooking them. Or thinking about them. When she breaks this routine, WE KNOW IMMEDIATELY THAT IT'S TROUBLE.

>> The big, big, big thing I want you to notice is that no matter what disaster befalls her, as long as Elizabeth is right there surrounded by the ocean, EVERYTHING IS PROVIDED FOR.

>> The other thing I noticed is that the author's bio on the cover is strikingly like that of Elizabeth's mother in the book. And they all -- Elizabeth, her mother, and the author -- look exactly alike, if you Google up a photo of the writer and compare it to the text. Now, I know that piscatorial biography can be VERY DANGEROUS as far as security leaks go, but I CAN'T WORRY ABOUT THIS ONE. Look out the window, ladies; times are dark and scary, people are terrified for their solvency and security, and NOBODY is more terrified right now than a fisherman's wife. Why? Well, THE FISH ARE HIDING RIGHT NOW. And then there's the itty-bitty oil spill in the Gulf. And the ravenous Sharks leaping into boats to eat the featherless bipeds within. All I'm saying is, NOBODY IS GONNA BELIEVE THAT THE OCEAN IS GONNA PROVIDE FOR ALL HER NEEDS...At least until she's recruited and starts turning into a fish herself.

Read this one! I liked it.


Labels: ,