Sunday, December 13, 2015

Nostalgiareads: Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

Hello readers and welcome back to another edition of Nostalgiareads! The series where I re-read some of my favorite childhood books to see if they are as good as the nostalgia glasses make them out to be. After reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin I got to thinking about all of the books from that year of elementary school that I bought. The one that immediately came to mind is today's featured book: Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech.

Like the first book in this blog series, I  encountered Ruby Holler in elementary school when my teacher used to pick books for the read aloud section of our English class. She read this book from start to finish and I liked it so much that I went out and got it. Cut to me re-reading this constantly. I remember staying up late into the night reading this, even on school nights... gasp! As one corny saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let me show you just how much I liked this book as a child.

Granted, paperback copies always wear easily, but these are pictures of a very worn and very well loved book. What's sad is that I remember reading this book when I was younger, but I never remembered what it was actually about. Not a single detail. That's what made this book such a great candidate for Nostalgiareads. Anyway, time to stop all this unnatural gushing and tell you about the book.

Ruby Holler is about two twin orphans, Dallas and Florida. They've lived at the orphanage run by the Trepid's basically their whole lives with the exception of a handful of awful foster home experiences. They've resigned themselves to living this unhappy life for a distinctly long time. All of that changes when they are invited to spend the whole summer with a pair of eccentric old people, Tiller and Sairy. The twins are fostered for the summer to act as aides and partners on each of Tiller and Sairy's respective trips. They are brought to the idyllic country side of Ruby Holler to live, a place Henry David Thoreau would probably have had an aneurysm over.What results is a lot of personal growth for the majority of the characters and some feel good mushiness.

Now for the most important part of this post: Does the nostalgia hold up after all of these years? Yes, yes it does. Now I understand why I loved this book oh so many years ago. For being somewhere between a children/middle grade book, the content is quite intelligent and thought provoking without being too complicated for younger minds. The book doesn't talk down to you or spoon feed you generic lessons from all of it's complicated issues. Although it does get a bit heavy at times, particularly when Dallas and Florida mention the orphan who died saying "Who Am I?" Another plus to this book is that the imagery is amazing. I can understand why I wanted to live in Ruby Holler so much when I was a child. When I got to the end of Ruby Holler, I was surprised at how quickly it's all over, I easily felt like there were enough loose ends to justify a sequel, but it some ways I'm glad that the book is open ended. It allows readers to continue on the story for themselves. Honestly, I would recommend this book to both kids and adults because I think everyone can get something out of it. There's the quest for self identity, maintaining hope in the face of hardship, the essential support of family, and the eternal struggle of enjoying life while coming to terms with aging. Oh and it is an award winning book, if that's something you put a ton of stock into.

All I can say is that this was another successful Nostalgiareads and I'm looking forward to rediscovering the next childhood favorite! Now back to your regularly scheduled lives, which for me means drinking coffee way past the appropriate time and, for all my nerdfighters out there, watching the rest of the Project for Awesome livestream. DFTBA to all of you!