Tin Man

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between? 

Tin Man is a love letter to human kindness and friendship, and to loss and living. 

 

This book is written from the perspective of each of the main characters, first Ellis secondly Michael.  The narrative of Ellis each covers many years, jumping back and forth, I found this difficult to follow at times.  Michael’s narrative is taken from his journals and thus follows a more direct timeline.  This book deals with relationships, how they can be interpreted differently by the parties and how one decision can alter lives. Not sure how I feel about this book, it wasn’t my favorite but I get the point.

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

Norris Kaplan is clever, cynical, and quite possibly too smart for his own good. A black French Canadian, he knows from watching American sitcoms that those three things don’t bode well when you are moving to Austin, Texas. Plunked into a new high school and sweating a ridiculous amount from the oppressive Texas heat, Norris finds himself cataloging everyone he meets: the Cheerleaders, the Jocks, the Loners, and even the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Making a ton of friends has never been a priority for him, and this way he can at least amuse himself until it’s time to go back to Canada, where he belongs.

 

Cute and enjoyable are the words that come to mind about this book.  It was a nice easy read dealing with the ackwardness of high school and how first impressions can be very wrong.  The main character learns, the hard way, how to fit in, how important it is to just be yourself and know what you really want.  Hard lessons for a teenager realized in a comedic way.