I am a big fan of Laura Ruby’s book, Bone Gap, because of how well she was able to make a mundane place (from an outsider’s perspective) seem enchanting at mysterious. The small Midwest town of Bone Gap is home to two brothers: Sean and Finn O’Sullivan. Ruby’s book is full of surprises about a great deal of things and leaves you questioning reality. The only problem I had with this book was the ending; I had almost no idea what was happening in the last chapters, yet I loved the whole thing. HOW????
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on unless you’ve read this book or don’t care about the spoilers I’m about to drop every other sentence.
The list below is the collection of all things I absolutely loved about the book and will elaborate on.
- The rich language to describe the bland setting of a farm town.
- The many references to how corn grows, looks, and speaks (I’m telling you, corn can TALK.)
- Flashbacks are always a plus.
- POWER TO THE HONEYBEES.
- Where do I put this on my bookshelf? Fiction? Mystery? Fantasy? The world may never know…
- Some very strategically placed plot twists (can I get a what, what?)
I give Laura Ruby an imaginative pat on the back for the words she used in this book. I’m starting to transition from hardcore fantasy (y’know the kind with the spells and the time travel and the epic battles, yada, yada, yada) to more of a fiction/realistic fiction genre. I had no idea what this book was about when I put it on my reading list. The one and only explanation as to why I picked it up is that the cover had a cool looking bee on it. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this book wasn’t going to be a drag thanks to exotic words used in the story. I was overwhelmed by how much I resemble main character Finn’s “spaced off” and pondering mind. The first chapter’s starting line is “The corn was talking to him again.” It seems ridiculous, but after reading one sentence I promptly closed the book, took a deep breath, and stared at the wall for a minute. I don’t know how I felt it, but I just KNEW that this book was going to be good when I first cracked it open. Another strong foundation of this book is the immediate use of flashbacks and references to the past. I am a big believer in flashbacks because they blow my mind the most when everything ties together. A closely related subject that comes to mind are plot twists. Near the end of the story Finn discovers he has a condition called prosopagnosia, which in short, is the inability to recognize facial variation (more on this later) and can’t remember what anyone’s face looks like.
One character I thought was pretty awesome was Pricilla, or as she liked to be called, Petey. Her mother is a beekeeper, so she handles bees all day long and always has honey on hand. She is described throughout the story as a tomboy, with rough and ugly features, a face only a mother could love. Finn and her start dating, and after a while, she notices something different about him. She was the one who made the discovery of Finn’s facial blindness, and became upset by this. Petey finally felt that someone thought she was beautiful when Finn and her started to date, but when she found out that Finn couldn’t process her face correctly, she became upset. I understand Petey’s emotions, but it seemed very out of the blue and far-fetched that Petey could make Finn’s diagnosis on her own.
I’m not sure how I stand on the ending of the book. There was so much going on that I hardly put a thing together. Honestly, I won’t even try to go in depth on the last few chapters because I have no idea what went on. The thing that threw me off most was that in the bulk of the story, there was no evidence of fantasy elements, but then near the end, a whole other dimension was thrown in my face. A character called these places “The Gaps” and that’s why the town is named so. I was not deeply upset by the unnecessary confusion of the ending; I think things could have been more clear if another 20 or so pages were peppered in the last chapters.
I give this book two thumbs up because it sort of reminded me of where I live, even though I am far from Illinois. I did have to double back at the end to re-evaluate what happened, and I am still not totally sure, but even so the book was quality. I especially liked the plot twists and flashbacks tossed here and there. Broadly, I’d give this book a solid 4.5 stars.