Saturday, January 3, 2015
Book Review: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
Author: John Corey Whaley
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Content Alert: sex (implied but teenage), missing children, some swearing
Cullen is having a rough summer-- his cousin recently died of a drug overdose, and the sleepy Arkansas town he lives in is caught up in a frenzy over the supposed reappearance of a woodpecker that was thought to be long-extinct. Then Cullen's brother, Gabriel disappears, and he's caught up in feelings of rage an ineptitude. Cullen's story alternates with the story of a young missionary who's losing his faith while serving in Africa. While these two stories seem like a strange juxtaposition at first, they eventually come together in a satisfying way.
I know this book got a lot of hype (it won the Printz Award in 2012), but I felt that there was more emphasis on style than on storytelling. The alternating stories seemed so jarring in the beginning, and there seemed to be little emotion surrounding the conclusion to the story (which should have elicited a lot of emotion). Cullen was a somewhat unsympathetic protagonist-- I felt bad for his predicament, but didn't always identify with his actions or see them as a result of his grief.