Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Rag and Bone Shop

This book written by Robert Cormier is a mystery/suspense story. It tells the story of a 12-year old boy, Jason. He is somewhat of an outsider. He does manage to make friends with a little girl named Alicia. The fact that she is only 7 does not seem to bother Jason. They spend time together doing things like jigsaw puzzles, which Alicia absolutely loves. When Alicia turns up dead the police have no physical evidence pointing to anyone as the culprit, so they rely on a "gut feeling" that Jason has committed this horrible crime. They call in an expert interrogator who is known for getting confessions to come in and try to get Jason to confess this crime. As Trent, the interrogator, is questioning young Jason we get mixed signals. He seems innocent but some of his actions may indicate otherwise.
Basically this story goes through the interrogation of a seemingly innocent child and the pressures of the police to satisfy the town with a confession so they can sleep at night knowing the killer has been caught. The reader gets taken on a journey through the life of this little boy and his relationship with the victim. We see how being alone in this small, dark, and clustered room with Trent leads Jason to discover something about himself no one ever could have suspected.

I think this book was a good read. It was really slow in the beginning especially with the character development. A book can always get on my good side if I can imagine the characters in my head. If i can see them outside of the book I feel like the author did a good job of giving me a sense of who the character is. I feel like Cormier could have done a better job with going more into the characters lives. Also, I would have liked him to go into more detail about the murder. For example the scene where Alicia was found was very descriptive; the way she was placed on the ground, how she was covered, and even her facial expression. I would have liked to know why all these things happened the way they did.

The book was also presented from multiple point of views. At times students may find this confusing, but after analyzing why the author would have done this, I feel like it was important. We get a sense of how the other characters in the story feel about Jason's innocence. Some characters refer to him as the young man, while others call him the culprit.

I liked this book for its suspenseful aspect as well as its amazing use of descriptive words. (Used GREAT vocabulary.) I would recommend it for sophomore level students.

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