Eli the Good by Silas House

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 9.58.21 AMSo what’s to say about ELI THE GOOD?  I loved this book, despite a burst of bad attitude last week that made me impatient with its gorgeous descriptions for a day or so.  You can read more about that here, or not.

ELI THE GOOD is one of those stories where setting — place and especially time — takes center stage. The year is 1976 — a year I remember for our town’s bicentennial parade and because I spent most of it angry that I wasn’t allowed to ride my bike to the park alone.  Eli remembers it as the year things fell apart in his family — with a wild-spirited aunt who shows up with a secret, a mouthy, strong-willed sister who comes to blows with their mother, and a father who is trapped in his memories of Vietnam. It’s a beautiful, poignant book, full of the kinds of details that made me want to go back and reread passages.  There were many that I loved, but maybe this one most of all:

“Whole scenes of your life slip away forever if you don’t put them down in ink.”  ~Eli Book

I loved this book, though I haven’t had a chance to share it with students yet, and there’s one thing that makes me most curious as to how it will be received.  Even though Eli is ten years old the summer of 1976, he’s a grown man, narrating from years in the future as he narrates the book. In that sense, it feels more like an adult book sometimes than a title aimed at kids.  I’m curious to see how much students will connect with that older, wiser voice. Has anyone shared this title with tweens & teens yet?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!