What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

July 4, 2010

Ship Sooner, Mary Sullivan

This post is dedicated to the birds who have awakened me at 4AM the last two mornings, providing me ample time to read this book.

I'm a sucker for alliteration, so "Ship Sooner" immediately caught my eye while I browsed the library stacks. Jacket blurbs by Andre Dubus (the son, not the father), Jodi Picoult and David Mamet sealed the deal (kind of an odd assortment of fans, don't you think?).

My own daughter lives with a hearing loss, so it was interesting to read about a character who lives with the exact opposite problem: exceptional hearing. Ship can hear sounds from very far away (handy for eavesdropping), but also extremely high-pitched sounds, similar to a dog's hearing (distracting to the point of incapacitating). Counter to my daughter's hearing aids, Ship wears specially designed ear caps that help muffle sounds. As the story unfolds, Ship discovers the ways in which her hearing is useful, and not just a burden she endures.

I spent the better part of this book mentally begging the characters to make different choices (which made returning to sleep pretty much impossible). I wanted the mother to spend more time with her daughters. I wanted her best friend to see what the mother failed to observe. I wanted the older girl to be nicer to her younger sister, but also grow herself a spine. I wanted everyone to stay away from the neighbor's father. Fortunately, the bad things I expected to happen never did, but neither did the book's conclusion bring the closure I was seeking.

ADDENDUM: I just realized that this book is also cross-listed as being a young adult novel and doesn't meet the requirements of our Rule #4. However, at the Duxbury Free Library it was shelved only in the adult fiction stacks, so I'm counting it. Challenge me if you want, Brendan, but you might find your time better spent reading.

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