Wednesday, October 19, 2011

She is About to Lose Everything

Gone (Wake)
When we last left Janie, our Dream Catcher, she was recovering from a horrifying undercover sting where she helped bust that put some teachers in jail for drugging and raping her classmates. While she is a hero for putting herself in such a scary position to help others, the job came with some very serious realizations about her ability to step into people's dreams. In Gone, by Lisa McMann, the story continues with a very real examination of what kind of life Janie can hope to live.

Now that janie knows her fate as a Dream Catcher, blind by her 20's and gnarled, crippled hands shortly after that, she is facing Morton's Fork- a philosophical fork in the road where both choices are impossibly horrible. She either becomes a shut-in who hides herself from the world or goes blind and becomes crippled due to her dream hopping like the only other Dream Catcher she knew- Mrs. Stubin. When she gets a call that her father, the same father she never knew who abandoned her to a life with her alcoholic mother, she has to go investigate.

Her father is in a coma and it is almost as if his brain "exploded". When she sleeps into his weak, fitful coma, she is faced with a terrifying realization- her father might have been a Dream Catcher too. It is possible the reason he abandoned her mother was to escape the very same dreams she suffers from. Now she must truly face Morton's Fork and decide what she wants to do with her life- isolation or become crippled. How can one choose between two impossible choices? What would you choose?

The interesting thing about this series is how wildly it varies in target audience from book to book. The first book was good, but clearly a soft, middle reader light mystery that would be best for middle school students. Then came the second book which was quite disturbing and graphic. Finally, we get the last installment which is strangely introspective and delves into really deep decisions and situations. Now I really have no idea who this series is geared for! I assume it is best for older, lower-skilled students, but they might be bored by the first book. Younger students might be too young for the second book. I am not saying this is a bad series or without its merits, but it is a strange fit student-wise. The writing is low-leveled, so it would be best for a struggling reader. But be sure the content is best for the student you are giving it to!

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