“That's what happened on journeys. The things you find are not necessarily the ones you had gone looking for.”
Friday, January 10, 2014
Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Breaking the Ice
Hazel and Jack are best friends. For them, it wasn’t just the games they play. They share each other’s dreams, fantasies, and secrets. While other people do not understand Hazel, Jack is always there for her. They are like two peas in a pod, a friendship born of understanding and acceptance. That was until one day Jack suddenly had a change of heart, and disappeared.
There are things that are preventing me from completely liking this book. I felt that I should because of the literary references Ms. Ursu curiously interweaved into her story. If you are a fairy tale fan, then you’ll have no trouble spotting them right away. Every now and then, a beautiful prose will emerge out of nowhere; but it was like a tree sentinel in the middle of a desert. What I am trying to say is that there is bleakness in the narration. The plot was really good, and most of the characters are well-detailed. Yet, for some reason this story lacks the vibrancy I often seek in a fairy tale.
I need to mention that Ms. Ursu also made some good points in addressing some social and personality issues. Socially, Hazel sees herself different. She always felt that she is flawed and rejected, but her mother assured her that she is perfect as is. Kids need to feel that they are accepted and loved despite any perceived inadequacy. No matter how others misconceive them, as long as they have love as anchor, they’ll be strong.
I guess that’s also the reason why Hazel clings to Jack so much. It is Jack who completes her; which also bothered me a lot. She did not save Jack entirely because he needed saving. She went and saved Jack because she needs him, she can’t function without him. It was an obsession. I cannot say it was not selfless either, because of all the trouble and danger she went through to get to him. Whether that’s noble or not, I believe it’s for each of us to decide.
The adventure is a mix of meeting good and bad characters along the way. Like I said before, the references to some old fairy tales we've read before was curiously inserted here. Characters were briefly introduced, but definitely adequate enough to keep the story moving. I was a tad disappointed when it was finally the Ice Queen’s turn. I was expecting someone dynamic and blazing with fierceness, like any formidable queen should be in my opinion.
My last sentiment would be the unresolved familial issues. I was thinking if the younger readers will be able to grasp the deeper, dismal issues of the novel. I hate to think that such crucial issues will merely remain crucial to a young mind. I do get that the ending is hopeful because Jack was saved and they made it back home, but I cannot help feeling that there is a whole lot of something missing here.
I did like BREADCRUMBS, but I can't say that the story is something that will stay with me for a long time. But, if you like reading fairy tales, adventures, and coming-of-age books, give this one a try.
Author: Anne Ursu
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Published: September 27, 2011
Genre: Children's Books