Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker~★★★★

Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Title: The Age of Miracles
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Fiction

Book Jacket: "Luminous, haunting, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, an unforgettable story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.
On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life---the fissures in her family, the loss of friends, the hopeful anguish of love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather, who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world." 

Taryn's Review: I was in a hurry during this past trip to the library, so it was one of those "grab-as-you-go" trips. I went over to the New Releases shelf and hastily threw two books into my bag; I am so glad this random book turned out to be such a delight to read.

Julia was the protagonist in the story and the second storyline in the book was that the Earth's rotation kept slowing down. The story about the slowing rotation was honestly a fantastic story in itself; what a great and unique twist to this tale.  Even with the catastrophic slowing, people still fell in love. People still dreamed of what they wanted to be when they grew up. People still laughed and cried and hoped for miracles. Julia was coming-of-age; of course it was scary as the days crept longer and longer, but that didn't mean Julia should stop living. My heart ached for Julia as she struggled with many of the experiences we all know are painful from our own first-hand accounts, but Julia's predicament was compounded by her friendship conflicts, the secret she had to keep, and the constant adjustment to a new normal.

The one thing that threw me off about the book was how young Julia was. I sincerely thought she must be around 12- or 13-years-old and figured her friends were roughly the same age. I was shocked to discover one of Julia's more sexually-provocative friends was just 11-years-old! Both of the girls turned 12 in the course of the book.

I don't think I'd call this work a happy or uplifting book, but it is thought-provoking. This was the author's debut novel and it was a stunning debut. The idea that Thompson Walker came up with was refreshing and her research on the subject was evident in the book. She's also a great writer; she has an elegance to her writing style that I don't come across too often. The only reason I gave it four stars was because the age thing really threw me for a loop. Julia talked and acted like someone a little older and I'm hard-pressed to accept her as an 11-year-old. Still, a great book and I definitely look forward to Thompson Walker's next book!

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