____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Homecoming

Ok, so I know I have a Nook now, and I shouldn't need anymore books, BUT....

I was at a used bookstore over the weekend and found one of my absolute favorites from when I was a kid, Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt.  I still remember picking it up in the middle school library—Off the back shelf, between the first two isles.  The library was still brand new, with a huge ceiling and blue carpeting, and those taupe/beige colored metal shelves.  My copy had a different cover, lighter, kind of an eggshell color, with the library sticker taped to the spine.

The copy I picked up was like the one to the right, with yellow-edged pages.  It's got that paperback feel that it gets when you've held it and read it a million times and it fits perfectly in your hand.  Slightly worn, on the cover, but not bad.  The weird part is, when you open it up, both the front and back inside covers are this golden-brown color that is darker on the edges and gets lighter toward the middle, just like a piece of toast.  It makes me wonder if it was supposed to be that way—Because it does look pretty cool.  Or maybe someone kept it someplace warm.  Really warm.  Like a microwave, or an oven.  Except that the slightly burnt look is only on the inside of the covers....
And then there's this cover...Which at first I thought was pretty cool—I totally love the purple.  Plus it sets a good mood for the story, with the child's expression of determination, combined with a somewhat bleak background, which reflects the circumstances of the Tillerman family.  But the kid on the cover looks too young to be the main character, who's supposed to be 13, or even her 10 year old brother who also has dark hair; the two younger siblings are both sunny blond children, so that doesn't really work either.

I've found that more people are familiar with Homecoming's sequel Dicey's Song.

Homecoming tells the story of the Tillerman children, Dicey, James, Maybeth, and Sammy.  The family was on their way to their Aunt Cilla's house, when they are abandoned by their mother in the middle of a mall parking lot.  They wait for her until the next morning, and then have to decide what to do after it becomes obvious that their mother isn't coming back for them.  While they do consider calling the police for help, the children are more afraid of being split up.  They decide to continue on to their Aunt Cilla's house on their own, and a trip they thought would take days, ends up taking them weeks.

This book is full of heart-wrenching twists and turns from the very beginning.  This is one story where I couldn't stop myself from asking, "what if?" a million times.  What if their mother had left the keys in the car?—Could they have driven?  What if they hadn't eaten dinner the night before, and would have had enough money to take the bus to their aunt's house?  What if they had trusted anyone to help them?

And what if they did?  Would the siblings still have fought so hard to stay together, or had such determination and the will to do it?  Would they have grown together like they did?  It's a story of adventure and hardship, and the great strength of family bonds.  And a story that has stuck with me, that so many years later still makes me feel pangs for their loss, and makes me remember the things that are really important.


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