Adams Central HS students read Lost - Gregory Maguire
Ten students tried to read it but only a handful accomplished the task in time for discussion. Winifred is a writer who doesn't like her own work even though in the mass-market world she is a success. When the story begins she is working on a new book about Jack the Ripper. After a strange scene in the opening chapter at an adoption agency (it ties in later) she travels to London to research. She also co-owns a home in the White Chapel area with her cousin and they are distant relatives of the real person that Dickens used for Scrooge. Upon arriving in London her cousin is missing and people in their building are acting strangely. Drama ensues with haunts, specters, and much creepiness.
I liked it very much however, it bogged down a bit in the middle and we all got the irritated feeling that it should have moved along with the plot a bit faster. Maguire is a hard read for kids but I am proud of the ones who stuck with it. We had a great discussion about the literary references which are many (Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Flies, 101 Dalmations, Mary Poppins, Wind in the Willows, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings to name only a few) and we had the best discussion of a quote on page 23, "Who would you choose to be haunted by, if you could choose?"
The students and I talked about Briticisms and also the rich vocabulary such as emasculation, nepenthean, verisimilitude. Also I had a lot of quotes to talk about such as, "I'm not superstitious but I an suspicious." and "Beware your childhood reading ... There is no Narnia in the wardrobe, there is no monkey's paw with a third and damning wish to grant."
"B" my reader this year that gives everything the most thought stayed with it - like the trooper that she is - and since then has commented several times about the book. So I know she got something out of it even if it wasn't her favorite for the year.
It is typical Maguire if you have read his books before - and I personally love them. But... I know they are probably for a limited few of us. I would very much like to re-read it with some adults though.