Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Greatest Thing...

I just finished The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson.  Rarely have I loved a book this much!  I want everyone I know to read it and everyone I don't know to find out about it and share it with a friend.   It is heroic, beautiful, tragic, uplifting, etc.  AHHH! 

Side note to explain why I picked the book: I had a love affair with a magazine.  We broke it off a couple months ago because I found out it was a whore, as I was paying way too much for it a year.  I am currently trying to figure out how we can work things out (i.e. I can get the subscription for much cheaper).  In said magazine, Stephen King writes a semi-regular column.  I have never read a Stephen King book and find it unlikely I ever will; but I feel a kinship with him.  I trust him and his opinions on just about everything (culture related).  So, I was browsing the clearance rack at Borders a couple weeks ago when I found a book highly recommended by Mr. King.  Right there on the front cover, no less.  It was cheap and it looked interesting (the blurb, I mean.  I rarely read the summaries of novels, they are rife with spoilers); so I bought it.

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread: A NovelThe story is a wheel story (like Seinfeld was) where there is a central character and all the other characters relate to the protaganist in some way (Even the lady in the above picture).  The central in this one is Morris Bird III, a Cleveland-born, smarter than the average 9 year-old boy (in the head, as well as the heart).  The book is part bildungsroman, part odessey, part adventure novel.  It is utterly unmissable.   All the other characters, named and unnammed, known and unknown to Morris Bird III have lives affected by this young boy. 

I am loathe to tell you any of the details of this book other than the 4 pieces of advice given to Morris Bird III in the book.  They are good:
1.  If you love a thing or person you should not hold back.
2.  There's nothing wrong with doing something you think is right even though nobody wants to help you, even though people actually try to stop you.
3. Don't put comfort ahead of duty.
4. Remember to look at the sky at least once a day, it helps to keep your perspective.

Supplied with these simple truths and a tender heart, Morris Bird III sets out to follow the advice of those he respects.  The resulting story is not so much a surprise of circumstances (I guessed most of it before the 50th page), as it is a marvel of humanity.  The fact that there is much foreshadowing here does not detract from the tale.  Instead it lends an air of mystery; a shock at the turn of events, even. 

The device Roberston employed best in this novel was repetition.  The kind that is subtle, but reinforces attributes of characters: like tenderness or movement or precision.  Rarely do authors get repetition right.  Often it is so heavy handed, it borders on annoying (see: Let the Great World Spin).  Robertson punctuates his story through repetition, giving the reader ways to mark time, take note of foreshadowing, and simply get to know the characters. 

I told -D I would like to create a list of Exposure Musts for our future (hopeful) children.  The things they must read, hear, see, etc. before they leave the nest.  As of yesterday, when I was halfway through this book, The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread made it to this list.  Someday we will write a post letting you know what else is on the list, but in the meantime: Go. Purchase. Read this book.

Rating: 6.8 out of 7


No comments:

Post a Comment