Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I love, love, love this book. Whether or not you know and love Calvin & Hobbes (and if you've never read Calvin & Hobbes, you need to!), this is a story that will resonate with you. Calvin is an unreliable narrator, but delightfully so. Because of his schizophrenia, even he isn't able to tell you for sure what's real and what isn't, but he is determined to see his only solution through, even if it's what others might call crazy. And that's a brilliant source of tension in the novel--as the stakes grow, the question of whether or not Susie is real becomes imperative, for her sake if she's real and for Calvin's if she's not. The Hobbes character is downright delightful, which makes it rather tragic that he's this frustratingly, damagingly fictive element of Calvin's mind.
When we're kids, we talk about things that are real and aren't real in such distinct terms, even though the lines are often blurred. (Santa Claus is real, by a faraway country or an animal never before seen in person may not be.) I think a common misconception about growing up is that we are better able tell what's real and what's not. But if anything, I think it becomes trickier. And Martine Leavitt addresses this brilliantly--are our feelings real, are our fears valid, does this belief hold weight, will this relationship withstand the trials of life? How do we know when something is real in all the ways that matter? All this, and more in this novel. Calvin is a brilliant little book, bursting with beauty and life.
ARC provided by publisher.