Beat the Turtle Drum
By Constance C. GreenBlurb: An ALA Notable Book and an IRA-CBC Children’s Choice: Losing your sister can mean losing your best friend too
Thirteen-year-old Kate is thrilled for her sister, Joss, when Joss finds out she gets to keep a horse for a week as a birthday present.
Then in one tragic moment, all of the happiness is gone, and numbness and grief overwhelm the family. Kate cannot imagine how she’ll survive but knows somehow she must come to terms with her loss. In this heart-wrenching story, Kate strives to find a place where joyful memories and painful loss can coexist.
Genres: Juvenile, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: January 7, 2015
My Rating: 2 stars
I think that maybe if I hadn't read the blurb of this book before reading it I would have liked it more. Because if you read the blurb, you know the whole story already. There is no element of surprise whatsoever.
So, there will be spoilers in this review. But considering that everything I will mention in this review is mentioned in the blurb, I'm thinking that's okay in this one instance.
First off, this is really freaking boring for the first 80% of the book. Kate just talks about her sister Joss. And honestly, that would have been fine, if I could just make an emotional connection to either of these two girls, but I couldn't. I think I was kind of preparing myself for Joss to die, which ended up not happening until the last twenty pages or so, and so I didn't want to get too emotional over her.
Secondly, the book doesn't seem to have any resolution. It was more like, "my sister's dead, now my life is terrible." I know that sounds unbelievably harsh, but that is literally what it was. That is not how you want to end a book. Even if it is a tragic story, there has to be some resolution, and it didn't seem like there was in this instance.
The one thing I did like about this book was the narrative, but it is for a more personal reason than any serious literary one. When I was still in middle school, my school's library was really old and 80% of the books were from the 70s, which is when this book was published, so it reminded me of the books that I used to read back then. That was one of the few things I enjoyed about this story.
It is interesting, though, to see how word usage and slang has changed since the 70s. The new version doesn't update the actual text (or if it did, only a few bits, because there were words that were definitely outdated in this book), so its exactly how it was when it was first published. That was entertaining for me.
This isn't exactly a book I'd recommend. Maybe I would have enjoyed it back when I was still little and cried over almost every single book, but at my current age, I was really unmoved by Beat the Turtle Drum.