I wish this book had been around when I was a kid. This book fosters a belief in wonderment and a love of storytelling, and I just want to place this book into every kid's hands and say Keep dreaming big, thinking big and don't lose that sense of wonder.
Similar to stories like [b:Life of Pi|4214|Life of Pi|Yann Martel|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320562005s/4214.jpg|1392700] or [b:The Storyteller|11284898|The Storyteller|Antonia Michaelis|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1305031179s/11284898.jpg|14863867], a fairy tale is woven within the novel so you're going back and forth between the stories, finding connections, hints, foreshadowing and deeper meanings.
Early. The strangest of boys.
Utterly endearing. I liked how his "strangeness" was never named, diagnosed or given as a label so that he became a poster boy for it - especially in the book description, so I didn't have any preconceptions for his character. It allowed for the slow uncovering of his quirks, emotions and perceptions that made him him
. As Jack says at one point, "... in that moment of silence, I was reminded that Early was not just a strange oddity of nature who counted jelly beans and read numbers as if they were a story. I knew he could feel hurt and disappointment..."
The book is half a boarding school story, until Jack and Early set off into the Appalachian wilderness and have a whole adventure that's a mix of the realities of survival and the strange and fantastical. I must say that while the first part of the book caught my interest, it was the last quarter or so that captured me completely so that I couldn't put this book down until the end. And how imaginative of the numbers in Pi describing a fairy tale of a boy's journey to find the answers to his questions and earn his name.