Book Review: Crossing the Tracks

Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber

So it turns out that despite my big! ideas! to the contrary! I haaaaate writing book reviews.  It feels like school, and that’s not really what I’m after on a day to day basis, returning to high school (shudder).  Or else I write something bitchy and then the AUTHOR EMAILS ME and I DIE OF SHAME.  Or I write something bitchy and people who loved the book leave me nasty comments.  Or I love the book but I don’t want to oversell it because I feel like maybe it was just me.  Maybe it wasn’t that great?  So basically I never do it because I feel self conscious and weird about it.

Probably right now this is where I would say something like “But I am making this ONE exception because THIS book was SO great!” but I am too nervous to do that! What if you hate this book?  GAWD.  But it’s just sitting here on my desk and I have to blog about SOMETHING and I really want to tell people to read this, so here goes nothing.

Anyway, I just read Crossing the Tracks, and I really liked it.  You might not like it, but you should try reading it too.  It’s one of those books that reminds me of simpler YAF, if that makes any sense. I assumed it would be similar to that boring Calpurnia Tate where nothing actually happens and you’re just supposed to be filled the wonder of reading about some spunky! girl! do! spunky! things! even! though! you’re! bored! senseless! But no, this is not like that.

The book starts off with Iris being hired out to help a doctor’s family in a far away town in rural Missouri by her father, and right away you assume that the doctor and his mother are going to be crusty and curmudgeonly and she’s going to have to learn to love them and they’ll grow to love her and blah blah blah life lesson learned and instead, nope, they’re just really lovely and funny and smart and wonderful right from the get go, and you get to watch Iris become someone wonderful as well.  Or her friend Leroy, who she leaves behind, and who is writing her letters, you assume that something strange is going on there and instead you get to watch their peaceful sweet story unfold.  And I have to tell you that I will say – can you imagine how difficult it must be to write YAF love scenes?  What’s too dirty? What’s too boring?  Where do you draw the line?  The scenes between Iris and Leroy were some of the most wonderfully written passages I have read in a long time. Fresh and lovely and perfect.

I totally think you should read this.  I really don’t think you’ll hate it.  I went into it thinking it was going to be boring and uninteresting and another sort of nothing happens historical dull fest, and it was one of my favorite things I’ve read in a long time.

Also, it was a finalist for some award I have never heard of, the William C. Morris Debut Award from the ALA.  Well done, William C. Morris. I am in agreement with your selection.

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4 Responses

  1. I am so afraid to write a negative book review on the Internet too. Because I know if I were an author and I was Googling myself, I would be HEARTBROKEN by every bad review. Although I know it happens, and I’m sure people would say worse things that I would. (Well, there are some books I really LOATHE, so maybe not.)

    But! I love reading book reviews! Even if it’s not my kind of book or whatever. I love hearing people’s takes on books. So I was glad to read this.

  2. Oh, that happened to me – I wrote a “meh” review and the author COMMENTED ON THE POST. At first I was mortified, but then I was, like, waaaaaaaait a minute, you’re a famous author, and you’re googling yourself and taking the time to comment on teeny-tiny blogs?

    The whole thing was just … weird.

    Plus, the book really was meh. It’s not like I was slamming War and Peace or something.

  3. I hate it when the authors comment and/or email me. I am brutally honest in my reviews because I am a mean, mean bitch, but even my cold heart feels really awful when someone takes the time to pay attention to the words I’ve written and the words are not the nicest in the world. So awful.

  4. adding it to my list thanks for the suggestion! Just started Steve Martin’s Object of Beauty…big like so far!

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