Friday, August 7, 2009

My Take On {Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

 Firstly, I found Kate1 to be an immensely relatable protagonist; she does The Right Thing most of the time all while griping inwardly about the injustice of taking care of her father and brother full time. She does the laundry, cooks, cleans, gives her younger brother his meds, feeds the cat and dog, runs track, takes AP classes, and works at the pharmacy. Her plate is full. Add to that the stress of having no safety net by only applying to one college, and it's no wonder she can't sleep. Laurie has succeeded yet again in writing a character that is real to the core with a uniquely quirky view on the world around her.
 The story starts off quickly enough, introducing all the secondary characters as Kate sees them and then picking up the main thread about a quarter of the way in. The book changes themes a few times. First it's about Kate; how she deals with the world's stress2. Secondly it's about putting up with situations beyond your control3. And thirdly it's about dealing with grief. 
 Have you ever read a book that threw such a horribly unexpected twist at you that you felt like Wile E. Coyote when he runs off the cliff and he just keeps running for a bit before he looks down and realizes that he's hovering over open air then he holds up the "Yikes" sign and falls? That's what {Catalyst was like. There came a point in the story where I was completely taken aback by what the author had done. I had no idea it was coming4, and it left me feeling that the bottom had fallen out, that I was stuck in the air about to fall. Laurie holds nothing back to reveal the awful truths of life. She chooses a stage we can all imagine, because we've all seen it, and characters we can all relate to, because we've either met them or are them, and then she throws the worst case scenario at you and gives you a chance to see how you might handle it. I like that about her books.
 I give {Catalyst...
... Four Zombies.
 A very real account of very real events told from a witty and very real perspective. I love that Laurie takes such a benign setting as Average American Suburbia and peels away the manicured lawns and Neighborhood Watch signs to reveal the truth of human nature. Both the Good and the Bad.
   Happy reading,
   Z.G.
footenotes____________________________________________________
1  Both Good and Bad.
2  Mostly she runs away from it.
3  Her former bully's house burns down and she and four-year-old Mikey move in because her father is A Really Good and Generous Person and not an Understanding Father.
4  Although things were going suspiciously well considering how much book was left. Maybe I should have seen it coming. Maybe I fell into the lull that was purposely put at that point to add to the OMG Factor when Laurie pulled that awful rabbit out of her hat.

2 comments:

Taschima Cullen said...

Sounds very interesting

Great Review Zombie Girrrl!

PS; You haven't been by lately!

Zombie Girrrl said...

I know, I'm a bad, bad girl. X_O Sorry! =^/

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