Schooled

March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Another book ordered by a faculty member. Who can resist a book in a bright yellow cover, with a peace sign and a psychedelic school bus? Not me!

Capricorn Anderson and his grandmother, Rain, are the last holdouts living on the commune Rain helped to found in the 1960s. Cap knows only his grandmother, who is his caregiver, friend, and teacher. Though he occasionally ventures into town with Rain, he knows nothing about modern society; they do not own a TV, computer or phone.

When Rain falls out of a tree while harvesting fruit, Cap gets in trouble for driving her to the hospital (he’s only 13). He is placed in temporary foster care while Rain recuperates in the hospital, and for the first time in his life, finds himself navigating the social melee that is public school.

Cap soon finds himself elected 8th grade class president! Only, it turns out that the honor is really a joke played on the geekiest 8th grader each year. Cap more than fits the bill: homemade tie-dye shirts, long hair, tai chi on the school lawn, general naivite about everything that is important to his new classmates. Much to the annoyance of his would-be bullies, Cap refuses to let anything get to him.

The story is told from multiple characters’ perspectives, giving us differing views on the same situations. I appreciated this much more than an omniscient narrator; the character personalities could literally speak for themselves, rather than being described by the narrator.

I found myself chuckling throughout this book. Cap’s innocence is endearing, if hard to believe. The book deals with social issues such as bullying, cliques, and materialism while remaining light in tone and entertaining. It is a quick, satisfying read.

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