Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Back Creek by Leslie Goetsch

Grace Barnett has always lived in Back Creek, a small tidewater town in Virginia, and is in love with the water, boats, and easy living that comes with it. But during the summer after her senior year of high school, Grace must confront her dysfunctional and continually changing family; a pregnant sister, her father's budding alcoholism, and her mother's swift disappearance from their home are just a few of the things she has to deal with. As she tries to fix her family, Grace turns to Cal, a recent Vietnam War vet, but he also has his own demons to confront. Like the creek that she lives on, Grace's life is changing very quickly, and she's not sure what to do. As the summer progresses and she prepares for college, Grace begins to understand her complex family, and learns new things about herself in the process.

Back Creek was pretty good. It definitely wasn't my favorite book ever (like the praise on the back suggests), but it was enjoyable. I thought the plot moved slowly, but it matched the pace of life on the creek, which is slow and lazy. I really liked the way the author described the creek; the whole time I felt I was there, watching the water lap along the bank. Grace was an okay protagonist, and she had her good and bad moments. I thought it was cool that she liked to read all the old classics, but didn't think it was realistic that she didn't have any friends her own age. I understand some people like to be by themselves, but Grace literally talked to no one at her school. She had Cal, but he was a few years older, and had his own problems, being a Vietnam vet and all.
I also didn't see the complete maturation of Grace that the synopsis alludes to. She definitely changed, and learned more about her family, but I felt like if Grace did have a new outlook on life, it wasn't explained enough. I also thought some of the ending wasn't tied up enough, at least for me. Grace's mom leaves her family, and the reader learns more about the mother, but we never find out why she left. It's made obvious that she was unhappy, but I just didn't get the real reasoning behind her motives. I think that the book would have been better if the author gave a little bit more attention to the ending. Overall, Back Creek was still an interesting read, and a good coming-of-age story for people that enjoy these kinds of books.

7 out of 10.

1 comment:

Sadako said...

Looks fun! I'll try to check it out if I have time. Good review.