Monday, November 18, 2013

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

When John and Marta find a young boy asleep on their porch, they're not sure what to do with him. The boy seems unable to speak but possess a crumpled note which indicates that his name is Jacob and that someone will be back for him.

Meanwhile the boy displays unusual artistic and musical talents, which lend a fairy-tale like quality to the story. When days and then weeks pass with no one claiming the boy, the couple start to believe that they are actually a family and that the boy belongs to them. When the boy's father does eventually show up, he's a ne'er do well who does not seem to even care about Jacob's well being. John and Marta are however, forced to relinquish the boy to his father's care but find that caring for children suits them and they begin a life of taking in foster children. Coming full circle, one day in the future, John and Marta find a grown-up young man asleep on their porch who turns out to be the boy that they cared for all those years ago. This is where the story ends.

This is a very sweet tale but the characters are not well developed and we never find out why Jacob was abandoned or why his father returned. It's also never explicitly stated why John and Marta don't have any children of their own and they never talk about specifically longing for a child or being unhappy that they do not have any. Because of this it's difficult to become absorbed in the story or understand the characters' motivations.It is also never explained why the boy can't speak and there is a hint of mystery or perhaps something magical in the beginning of the story, which never really comes to fruition. Recommended for readers looking for a short and sweet tale. 2013.

P. Sassoon

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