Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Larger-Than-Life LARA"

I've just read Dandi Daley Mackall's "Larger-Than-Life LARA",
and this time, I will actually say something about the book, as well as giving my reaction.
Briefly: The story is told in the first person by fourth-grader Laney Grafton. As she
narrates the events, she also talks about what her teacher has taught the class about writing.
Dandi Daley Mackall has not only written a work of fiction; she has also shared a few rules for writing a story... AND shown us that there are times when those rules won't work.
(The following is from the inside of the dust jacket)
"But Lara doesn't act the way a fat kid should. She's confident. She's happy. And nothing, it seems, can change her positive attitude. Until one day, when Laney's classmates do the unthinkable."
Laney's classmates. Not Laney, herself. She didn't know about the trick until it was over.
"I wanted it to be over. I wanted it not to have happened."
This book is from a mainstream, rather than a Christian, publisher, and is not overtly religious, although praying is VERY briefly mentioned.
Not overtly religious. But what Lara does for her classmates after that cruel prank
can best be described as Christ-like. And they, too, now wish that the trick hadn't happened.
And perhaps it is a good thing, in a way, that this is NOT an overtly religious book. More people are likely to read a book from a mainstream publisher than from a religious one.
Yes, what Lara does can definitely be called Christ-like. Or, to put it in Jewish terms,
she behaves like a real mensch. But then, to be Christ-like is to be a real
mensch.
My reaction? I was open-mouthed and gasping when I finished this book, and I needed to wipe my eyes.