Saturday, November 12, 2016
Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King
I am a big fan of A.S. King and adore her writing style. She is the type of writer that causes me to stop mid-sentence and admire her wordsmithery (I know. That is not a word!) My first A.S. King book was a Printz Honor, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, and that book, about a young girl who is consumed by her grief and stuck in a life she doesn't know how to live fully, simply knocked my socks off. I've gone on to read several more books by King: Everyone Sees the Ants; Glory O'Brien's History of the World; Ask the Passengers; and I Crawl Through It. All of the books have a character who is experiencing some near mental breakdown until they are able to get the attention of an adult who is FINALLY willing/available to help them find a way to make sense of their circumstances and their world. As much as I admire Still Life with Tornado, the book doesn't seem all that different than the other books I've read my King. Every year in the past we have added A.S. King's book to our Mock Printz list because of the spectacular writing, and no year since Vera Dietz has her book earned another Printz award. This year we decided to leave Still Life with Tornado off our list. We'll see if we made the right call in January when awards are once more handed out.
That said, I really did like Still Life with Tornado and will recommend it to my students. It carries a very powerful message about the effects of abuse on marriages and on children and it, therefore, may speak to students who are also experiencing abuse at home.