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SPOILER ALERT!

A Heartbreaking Finish

When Everything Feels like the Movies (Governor General's Literary Award winner, Children's Literature) - Raziel Reid

As I mentioned in my last post on this book, this was a tough read because I knew where the story was leading, and I wanted to keep Jude from attending school that day, and then that dance...

 

I also mentioned what a feeling of hopelessness moves through this book. None of the characters seem destined for a happy future. The small town with no way out, the dead-end jobs, the toxic atmosphere (which is also literal, due to the town's industrial output)... Jude does find his way out, in a sense. We know from the start that this is a post-mortem narration, and Jude is "somewhere" telling us this story. We also suspect that he embellishes much of what he narrates, and we can't completely trust his Hollywood perspective on life. It's his coping mechanism, but also a barrier to us understanding him better as a person. The claustrophobic setting, and the feeling that nobody is blameless (even Keefer is swept into the shame cycle at school) added to the sense of misery I felt throughout the book. I didn't want to keep reading, but couldn't stop.

 

I'll probably be thinking about this one for a while, wondering whether or not I can say I liked it. It saddened and horrified and angered me. And it made me grieve, as a parent, of my children someday having to encounter similar situations (which are now filmed for eternal worldwide consumption).