Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pg. 99: Alison McGhee's "Falling Boy"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Alison McGhee's Falling Boy.

About the book, from the author's website:
"Did you really rescue your mother from a fate worse than death on a cliff overlooking the sea?"

After a mysterious accident left him paralyzed, sixteen-year-old Joseph finds himself living with his father in Minneapolis and working hot summer days in a bakery. What happened to the life he used to live? How did he come to be here? Although they approach the mystery in different ways, two people in Joseph's new life -- seventeen-year-old Zap, who also works in the bakery, and Enzo, a fierce and funny nine-year-old girl--both want to find out.

"Are you really a superhero?" whispers Enzo, who secretly longs for her world to be transformed. "Please be a superhero."

Stoically quiet, Joseph has never thought of himself as a superhero, especially now that he is in a wheelchair and can't feel his legs. But others disagree. Who is the hero? Who is the enemy? Is redemption possible, and if so, where is it to be found? In Alison McGhee's strange and powerful Falling Boy, a small band of tough kids turn the myth of the superhero inside out as they face down the shadows of childhood.
Among the praise for Falling Boy:
"McGhee captures the special brand of homesickness felt in the flatlands by people who come from more varied terrain."
--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[O]ffers compelling evidence that McGhee ... is a writer to watch."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"I haven't been so touched by a story in quite a while. McGhee's background in young adult fiction is plainly evident in this story of paraplegic teen adjusting to a new city, a new life and to one little girl's belief that he is, in fact, a superhero. Falling Boy is a wise meditation on dreams cast aside, only to be reborn in entirely new and thrilling ways. Would that all superhero books could be as poignant as this..."
--Sarah Weinman
Alison McGhee is an associate professor of creative writing at Metropolitan State University, where she coordinates the creative writing program. She is also on the faculty of Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Her books include Rainlight, Shadow Baby, Was It Beautiful?, and All Rivers Flow to the Sea.

Visit Alison McGhee's website.

The Page 99 Test: Falling Boy.

--Marshal Zeringue