The Wanderer by Sharon Creech is an excellent example of a bildungsroman or coming-of-age novel.
The protagonist of the story is 13 year old Sophie. She narrates most chapters with the occasional viewpoint from her cousin Cody. The alternating viewpoint is necessary to the story, as the reader finds out pretty early on that Sophie isn't exactly a reliable narrator.
Sophie loves the sea. She wants to spend the summer sailing with her three uncles and two cousins on a trip across the ocean to visit their grandfather who is known as Bompie. They make several stops along the way, but the majority of the book is spent on a small sailboat. The character relationships in this book really drive the plot along.
This is the second time I've read this book. The first time I was probably 12 or 13 and I loved it. I still loved it this time but for different reasons. When I was younger, I loved Cody. I also loved Sophie's stories, and I felt like the ending was the perfect mix of resolution and surprise. As an adult, I loved the lack of description when it came to the characters. When I was kid, I believe I read the book with the three floating faces cover. This cover is much better. You see, Creech never describes the characters. They could all be white, but they could all be black or Asian or Native American or any conceivable race. It's kind of nice being able to imagine different options. Although it surely doesn't help with what I'm gonna call the "Hunger Games Factor". As you might know from other posts of mine, the Hunger Games Factor is where authors are vague in their descriptions and characters are white-washed in movies as a result. Of courses Collins was nowhere near as vague as Creech is and almost all the characters in the Hunger Games ended up being white.
The Wanderer was a great book and I'm glad I gave it a re-read.
Favorite Quotations: "I wondered if it was better to know about the bad things in advance and worry about them, or whether it was better not to know, so that you could enjoy yourself."
"We are just a floating refuge for lost souls."
"[...] I am in one piece physically. Inside, though, I am in many pieces."
Middle Grade March Count: 7
ReRead 2014 1/3