Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Doing the David Levithan Dance

It took some serious finagling, that's for sure.

To get to see my new fave, David Levithan, author of the deep and redeeming Love Is The Higher Law, I've had to cover two boys overnight, plus an entire class of writers.

But I did it.

I had to.

This guy has blown me away. I used this novella in my community college class, to show the integration of fiction into research, to prove that fiction is worthy of critical thought.

And speaking of "critical," Levithan's timeliness is. The novella debuted two weeks before the eight-year anniversary of the World Trade Center's collapse. It packs three teens' self-searches in a destroyed New York into a slim 163 pages, narrated by three voices.

I know. Crazy.

How does Levithan do it? Along with being clean and tight, the plot is simple: under 9/11 rubble, these kids struggle before finding community. And humanity. And hope.

Every word is chosen meticulously. Here's Claire: "I want to have faith in strangers. I want to have faith in what we're all going to do next. But I'm worried... Wouldn't it be wonderful if we really came together, if we found a common humanity? The hitch is that you can't find a common humanity just because you have a common enemy. You have to have a common humanity because you believe that it's true."

Who could not love the honesty, the wisdom there?

Oh, I hope Levithan reads that part in Portland tomorrow. That, and pages 105 and 106. And of course page 153.


Suzanne Young said...

I will see you tomorrow!!

Jennie Englund said...

YES! 4:00 at A Children's Place.

I'm bringing my 10-year-old girlie who gobbled up the book in about an hour.

SO excited to see you. And David!