Thursday, May 14, 2009

M.C. Higgins, the Great

M.C. Higgins didn't seem all that great to me, unfortunately. I just didn't like the guy that much, even if pole-sitting and wearing lettuce leaves stuck in rubber bands around your wrists greeting the sun was interesting. (And why no lettuce leaves on this cover, the one on the book I checked out of the library? Would no kid ever check out a book with a teenager doing something that looks that silly?).

I wanted to like this book by Virginia Hamilton. I thought her descriptions of southern Ohio (or was it West Virginia or northern Kentucky?) were magical, and the characters were complicated. The parts about strip-mining were ominous and probably realistic. The witchy six-fingered Killburn family and their vegetable farm enclave were fascinating. The stuff about the dude coming to collect folk music was fun, and I wished I could hear some of the songs Hamilton described. I loved the historical perspective and the family legends and the whole relationship between the Higgins family and Sarah's Mountain.

But I couldn't get past my initial dislike of M.C. and his father. I didn't like their relationship. I absolutely hated the way M.C. met Lurhetta, and I wasn't too thrilled with most of his later interactions with her. I couldn't believe she was willing to have anything to do with M.C. (spoiler - highlight to read rest of sentence if you don't mind me giving away some of the story) after he cut her with a knife because she was going to bash him in the head after he jumped on her. Ugh.

And there wasn't much of a plot in M.C. Higgins, the Great. I guess I don't mind that so much in some books (like Criss Cross, for instance)....when I like the characters and are curious about their lives and their thoughts. But that didn't work for me here.

It's not you, M.C., it's me....we're just not compatible. I enjoyed hearing about your home, though.

1 comment:

beth said...

I loved this book when I read it for my newbery course. However, I didn't think it was a children's book. Fantastic with an early magical realism quality. But since it was really about MC's rapid changing relationship with the world, I felt it was something that only someone who had gone through adolescent would appreciate.