Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: The Boy on the Porch (Sharon Creech)

The Boy on the Porch
Title: The Boy on the Porch
Series: standalone
Author: Sharon Creech
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Genre: Juvenile (?) Contemporary
Rating: Clean
Told: Third Person (Couple), Past Tense
Format Read: ARC (EpicLibrarian)
Find It On: Goodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository

When John and Marta found the boy on the porch, they were curious, naturally, as to why he was there-and they didn't expect him to stay, not at first, but he did stay, day after day, until it seemed as if he belonged, running and smiling and laughing his silent laugh, tapping and patting on every surface as he made his music, and painting-with water, with paint, with mud-those swirly swirls and swings and trees.

One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of person would leave their child with strangers? All they know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. And as their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, and John and Marta and the boy begin to see the world in brand-new ways. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech delivers a poignant story of finding family when you least expect it.

*          *          *

Three Words: Quick. Odd. Heartwarming.

Writing: Minimalistic. The story is mainly dialogue-driven with very little description and movement. It made for an odd read, but I never got lost or felt that too much was left out, and I read the book cover to cover in a matter of hours.

Setting: Given the minimalist style of writing, not only do we not find out where this story takes place, but we don't even know when. It could've easily been in the present, but also the 90s, or possibly even the 80s. There are no electronics mentioned that would date it. All we are given is that it is a very rural area with lots of small towns (some abandoned), and the couple lives very simply on a small farm.

Story: A heartwarming story about a couple that takes in an artistic but "mute" boy who was left on their porch and come to love him. It moves very quickly with extremely short chapters and even shorter scenes. I really had no idea what was happening for the first half of the book, but it was so thin I just kept going, and I'm really glad I did. While not what I expected, the end was perfect - very anticlimactic, but that was good for a heartwarming story such as this. I guess I've been reading too much Young Adult, where a "happy" ending must be won out of great suffering.

Characters: The focus couple, Marta and John, were a quiet, down-to-earth couple who discovered they had a lot of love to give. I don't recall that they were ever described past their names, but we come to know their hearts intimately, and that was all that mattered. (I'm the type who doesn't really care if the main characters are described or not if it's not important to the story.) Jacob was an odd but amazing boy with a lot of talent, and you really can't help but fall in love with him right along with Marta and John. The rest of the cast had small parts but were actually described, which made for an odd switch, but gave them presence for the little screen time they were given.

Foster Care Element: This might be considered a pretty big spoiler (apologies - skip this paragraph if you don't want any), but I just have to bring up the foster care aspect of the story. Because of their time with Jacob, the couple decides to become foster parents and temporarily house - and love - many children. Because of this, I believe The Boy on the Porch would be the perfect story for considering foster parents to read. It shows that, while fostering isn't easy and has its bumps, if the foster parents have patience and love they can do wonders for parentless children.

Conclusion: I will admit: the end made me cry. An odd but sweet read that I'm not sure young children will really get but teens and adults might find a calm afternoon read.

Recommend For: Teens/Adults who love quick and heartwarming stories; considering foster parents.

Scribble Rating
3 of 5 Scribbles

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