Friday, March 18, 2016

Leavitt, Martine. Calvin.

Leavitt, Martine.  Calvin.  Macmillan/Farrar Strauss  2015  181p  $17.99      ISBN 978-0-374-38073-1  hs/adult  Realistic fiction  E-BN    

What a treat to read a book in which word choice has been carefully thought out so the result is concise, lyrical, and full of WOW moments. Calvin’s journey is told as a letter to Bill Watterson with “play” dialogue interspersed, including blank space after a character’s name to indicate a silent reply. Calvin knows he was named for the comic strip character from Calvin and Hobbes. The reader enters Calvin’s genius-level mind as he contemplates things such as school courses that provide no real foundation for practical living, bullies, sophisticated math, brain neurology, and possibly the most inexplicable -- the mystery of love.  Calvin, seventeen years old, knows that if he could just get his hero/nemesis Bill Watterson to do one more Calvin cartoon without Hobbes, his schizophrenia would disappear and he would be “normal”.  Calvin sets out with Hobbes and Susie to accompany him as he treks across Lake Erie to the shores of Cleveland where he knows Watterson will be waiting for him. How much is reality and how much fact (another concept he puzzles through with amazing insight) is left for the reader to discern. Possibly only true Calvin and Hobbes fans, and many are getting on in age, will get all the references to the cartoon, but Calvin’s journey is fascinating regardless of the age of the reader. Brilliant writing. Gr 8+

Strongly recommended for high-school and adult readers. The journey into Calvin’s schizophrenic mind is fascinating to encounter, with many facts bumping up against reality, something we all face to some degree.   

Summary: Travel with Calvin, newly diagnosed with schizophrenia, as he sets out across a frozen lake to meet his hero/nemesis Bill Watterson, creator of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Concise, articulate writing with brilliant moments of humor and insight. Gr. 8-12+  

Schizophrenia-Fiction                                             --Lois McNicol

No comments: