Monday, August 3, 2009
So B. It by Sarah Weeks
It seems to me that many of the young adult novels written today are mediocre. I sometimes think it's because my adult mind has lost its ability to relate to anything youthful, but then I read a book like So B. It by Sarah Weeks, and I realize that maybe it's not me after all--it's them. (Sorry, Traveling Pants !) A coming of age story, So B. It concerns twelve year old Heidi's search for the truth about her mother, a loving mentally challenged woman, and her mysterious past. Her mother has no other discernable family, an unusual name (So B. It), and lives with Heidi and a kind agoraphobic neighbor, Bernadette, in adjoining apartments in Reno. Certain things intrigue Heidi, leading her to search for her mother's identity. Who are the people in the old pictures she's found? Who pays for the rent on their apartment? Weeks excels in plain, old-fashioned story telling: the characters seem real, not petty and paper-thin, and the places they travel are the well paved, mortar and bricks sort. The So B. It character fascinated me--her disability should limit her, but it really doesn't at all. She lives, and she's loved. Maybe the real message of this book is that family is important, and it comes in many kinds of weird configurations. Maturity is at the heart of So B. It--wisdom without preachiness. I wish there were more YA books like it.