I must admit, I have not read every Jerry Spinelli book out there. Not yet. But this one is so far my absolute favorite, Eggs. I don't normally think Jerry Spinelli has the most poetic phraseology but this book surprised me. Usually, Spinelli says it like it is and in as few words as possible. He is never overly flowery with his phrases. But here are some of my absolute favorite sentences:
"As on that night, fears he could not name blew chills upon him from a window left open to his soul."
(Speaking of the sunrise upon the water) "Orange at first, then butterscotch, then yellow, a plump breakfast yellow of egg yolk; and then, as if poked with a fork, it suddenly broke, spilling, flooding, the river and the city and the trees and the sky and every dark corner of the world."
Eggs made me laugh, wonder, cry... It told a story simply and beautifully and everything you hoped would happen did to a fulfilling way.
Now, what was so interesting to me is this... (spoiler alert) David, the MC, a 9 year old boy befriends a somewhat broken 13 year old girl named Primrose. Both want something - a mother. David's is dead and Primrose's is there but "not there," if you know what I mean.
The interesting thing to me is that, although this is a story about coping with grief and disappointment, although it is in everything the boy does and the girl wants and the way they interact with each other, it is not in your face "there." It is not, woe is me, the motherless child... A lesson learned for me who is also writing a story about a motherless child, but my grief permeates every page, not in what she does, or what she says, but in the back story and the actually missing of Mama. Too much telling and not enough showing.
Spinelli, however, has taught me volumes in this novel. The grief, the want, is still on every page but without being in your face. Do you know what I mean? He shows and so he doesn't need to tell. For example, David stabs his sandwich with his carrot at lunch one day. Grief. He roams the streets at night with Primrose. Denial. He's mean to his grandmother. Anger. He resoles to never break a rule. Bargaining. He learns to love his grandmother. Acceptance. Spinelli took all steps of grief and thought, how can my character SHOW these stages without me the writer TELLING about them?
For any of you who are writing about a motherless child, Eggs is a MUST read!