The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow! The most beautiful book I've read in ages. Very simple, but amazingly tender and powerful. Creech tells a tale with a lot of unanswered questions that leaves the reader wanting to know so much more about what happened. And yet there is a feeling of accomplishment, that lives have been touched as in real life we don't always know how, but it *does* make a difference. We are shown a small part of that difference when the lives of a couple cross paths with an abandoned boy on their porch. Splendidly written. It is with shame that I admit I have not read this award winning author before. Two things particularly stand out for me. The first is the timelessness of the story. It has no time period. We know the story takes place in the past as there are no modern conveniences, no one uses a phone and yet it is not that long ago as there are cars and attitudes feel closer to today than ages past. Is it the 40s, 50s or is it just a very rural, isolated area? The other aura of mystery surrounding the tale is the boy's condition. Being the mother of an autistic boy myself it seems very certain to me that Jacob is a non-verbal autistic, gifted in music and art whose stims consist of tapping. But his *condition* is never addressed directly or really ever a concern as to what his exact problem is. Jacob is just different and John and Marta who don't know much about children anyway accept him as he is and work with his abilities and what he *can* do. I loved this approach and found it so refreshing! The climax can possibly be seen as sad but the denouement brings a lasting tender sort of happiness and a reality that is genuine in the lives of foster parents and children. The final pages do however bring some closure along with those aching unanswered questions.
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