THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker
I am always amazed and very happy when a new novelist comes along and hits it out of the park. A writer shows up with a book that makes critics almost flustered with their praise. This kind of reaction is memorable, and I am gratified to know that I (sometimes) agree with them.
THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker is a book that is beautifully written and not your typical coming of age story. Julia, age 11, is living with her parents in southern California. She is a quiet girl, more of an observer than a participant, and shy around her peers. But this is not just about Julia growing up in suburbia, it is also about the end of the world. You read that correctly, the world is supposedly coming to an end.
The earth’s rotation has slowed down, days are stretching, and gravity has been altered. Things you take for granted, like birds flying, are no longer what you expect. The lives of the world’s population is changing, but we are focused on Julia and her community, her family and school.
Julia basically has no friends and no one to confide in. She sees there is trouble with her parents, she sees her neighbors become not the people she has known all her life and she starts to see herself with possibilities. She is a preteen with a crush on a boy and all of this seems pretty normal.She is definitely a girl more mature than her years and I think that comes from being a watcher. By standing on the outside and looking in, her voice is older than her peers. But there is “the slowing” and the sun is shining for many days in a row. In all of this drama, Julia is a character that is authentic and true.
If you are reading this and thinking that the end of the world is not your cup of tea, think again. Walker is a storyteller with an original story to tell. She does a brilliant job of creating characters that you know and circumstances that are unreal and yet very real. The strength of this book is that the author has given us people we care about in a plot that is compelling and addicting.
What I am currently reading: DEFENDING JACOB by William Landay. I am almost finished and I confess I am totally sucked into this story.