Monday, 2 July 2012

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

Okay, so this isn’t technically a teen book. But I think everyone should read it, so I’m going to ignore that right now.

The Underneath is a touching tale about the love between a dog and a small calico cat and her kittens (cue Awwwwwww!). When the calico cat, with kittens in her belly, hears the mournful baying of Ranger, the bloodhound, she seeks him out. In spite of their many differences, she befriends him. Ranger names one of the kittens Sabine, and the calico cat names her other kitten, a boy, Puck. Sabine and Puck grow up together in the Underneath, the dark and holy Underneath, a space under the porch. This sounds nice and rosy, but the cuteness ends here. The reason they must hide in the Underneath is because there, they are safe from Gar-Face, a man who would use a cat for bait to try and catch the Alligator King. He had previously shot his dog- Ranger- in the leg and chained him up (cue gasp). But one day, Puck ventures out of the Underneath, and the series of events that follows are not what he expected, wanted, or meant…

Meanwhile, there is another story going on- that of Grandmother Moccasin, a large snake, who is consumed by hatred for everything. She remembers all those who betrayed her as she is trapped in a jar, waiting for a chance to escape.

While the storyline may sound childish, it has a lot to offer for anyone reading it. First things first though, I really gotta pay homage to the writing. The poetic writing style of this book is to die for. I’ve never seen an author who uses words to lull the reader down the river of her story, and while that sounds overly metaphorical, that’s what it feels like. Sometimes I had to read a few lines over again, whispering the words, because it was just so delicious. If you’re a writer, you have to read this book for at least research purposes. (This story will change my writing style dramatically, I’m sure of it). The story itself was suspenseful, though it’s not one of the breakneck-pace thrillers crowding our bookstores today. I looooooved the ending because it tied up everything, down to the hummingbird. Without giving too much away, the power of love reaches it’s climax point and everything’s just so sweet and sad at the same time. This is the kind of book you read slowly, and then you read parts over again, just to savour every bit of it. 

If you loved this book...

You're an awesome person. Yes, I'm using compliments to cover the fact that after years of searching, I still haven't found another book quite like this one. 

No comments:

Post a Comment