Thursday, July 9, 2009
I like Robert B. Parker's writing style. I always have, and the same is true with this book.
Chasing the Bear is a book for youth. It was published by Penguin Young Readers Group. It is a short coming-of-age novel.
We learn how Spenser came to have his code. For the first time he faces down abusive violence on his own.
For me, the first half of the story, the bear and Jeannie's abusive father, were compelling. The second half was interesting. It added to the hero's history. Spenser has a sense of justice and a special kind of loyalty.
I hardly need to tell you about Spenser. Tens of thousands (conservatively, I suspect) have read him. Many have seen him in the TV series.
I remember spending several hours at the counter of a small-town coffee shop talking about the early Spenser novels. My companion was an old man from the church. I was younger at the time. Robert B. Parker gave us much in common.
It is good to see Parker writing for youth, but in truth, I suspect mystery-reading youth have read the "older" books with pleasure. Robert B. Parker is not hard reading.
PS Two items-- (1) The reviewer linked above underestimates youth readers. Given what he says about their inability to follow the book, he doesn't really know literate teens and pre-teens.
(2) Sometimes when I write about the small towns I have lived in, I wonder if people understand. I hear commentators like Brian Williams on NBC talk about small towns. He almost always refers to towns of 20,000 to 100,00. The small towns I lived in were in the few thousands. That little coffee shop in that small town described above was in a town of 2,000. The last "small town" we lived in had about four thousand residents in a county with just over ten thousand.