Brenda Cooper

Some Commentary on Silver Ship from a Friend

Introduction:  My family does flyball (see www.threedosgblog.com for that side of my life), and this is some very nice commentary from someone in that world whom I’ve met a few times, but don’t yet know well.  I often miss practices and tournaments in order to find the time to write. So many ways I often wish I could clone myself so I could be home more – this time I’ve been away 10 days.  Anyway, here is what she said about the book. I’m posting it because it’s really nice to see comments from people who aren’t already avid science fiction fans…

 

 

I’m really not a science fiction buff and honestly it took me a some time to get into the story because of all the unfamiliar names. (Both locations, characters, and concepts).  I work as a classroom aide at an elementary school and wanted to read Silver Ship and the Sea to see if this could be a book that I might introduce to 5-6th graders this year.

 

Like I said I was struggling a little at the start.

 

When I spoke with my “Young Adult Daughter” she replied without missing a beat – “Mom, that’s why people like Science Fiction. It’s the discovery, the unfamiliar becoming familiar and connecting with the story along the way. In your way.”

 

Well, I immediately felt 2 things after that comment. The first was “Duh”, I should have left my mind mind a little more open. But I have to admit, this isn’t a no brainer type story, like so many YA books are. Maybe this was my stumbling block. 2nd, I felt relief – it was ok for me to be thinking,( even though I’m well past being thought of as a “Young Adult”) because it is a complex story. Complexities in the first chapters involving past history, future concepts, social and societal connections. Because I have never been very comfortable with Science Fiction I actually utilized one of the strategies that I often use with struggling readers when I work in small groups in the classroom. I wrote down character names and traits including  a few physical traits they possessed and how each connected with another as I came across them in the story. As I progressed I had lots of arrows as the Characters became increasingly interconnected. Once I decided it was ok that I needed to draw out a little “mind map” to keep things clear, the characters began to come alive.

 

I needed this note taking to jump start me into the story. I can now clearly visualize 15 characters and even the Hebras that each rode! Wow! I bought Reading the Wind the Day of its release and am eager to get going on it.( In fact I showed up early at the bookstore and was scouring around looking for it, only to realize I was a week early. Ooops! I guess I hooked.)

 

I made a conscious effort to read this book slowly – there were so many interesting concepts that I discovered along the way. Things that I made personal connections with including the obvious politics & war, but somthing I hadn’t expected – Brenda captured that feeling of not belonging, that I have personally felt as a child of an immigrant.  As if Chelo were me in my youth.

 

Not really knowing where you belong, and that you feel the intense loyalties to both parts of you.Wanting to do the right thing, not knowing what that is exactly.

 

Feeling torn.

 

Maybe that’s how it feels to be in the middle of anything, that only you can truly understand –  I guess it’s when you are not the “majority”. Some things are “easier” for our society the “accept” and some are “tolerated” –  yet others are still held with strong prejudices depending on who you surround yourself with. I think Brenda reflected these different levels in the “adult” caretakers of the “Altered”. Some evolving themselves as the story unfolded. 

 

Being in any minority leaves you vulnerable and left out in the open. Testing the waters around you and learning that you eventually have to trust others even when sometimes doing so can risk your comfort level.

 

I hope to use this book with a group of more sophisticated readers who can discuss some of the concepts that they see that come to the forefront, but I definitely want to use it – There is so much in this book that isn’t just at the surface, that people can learn from – it is the kind of book that if you reread it, well…  it’ll get you thinking. So although it is a Young Adult book  – This Old Adult really enjoyed it.