Title: The Boy on the Porch
Author: Sharon Creech
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Review Copy: Digital ARC from Edelweiss
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Summary: One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of person would leave their child with strangers? All they know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. And as their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, and John and Marta and the boy begin to see the world in brand-new ways. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech delivers a poignant story of finding family when you least expect it.
My thoughts: With brief chapters, this sweet middle grade novel just flew by. I was completely charmed by John and Marta. They are so unsure of themselves, but dive right into caring for this boy who dropped into their lives. They are still learning how to be with each other and adding a random child into the mix flusters them, but heir interactions are adorable.
Where the boy came from, why he doesn't speak, why someone doesn't come back for him, these are all questions that rumbled through my head. Some of them are answered, but even more questions popped up as I was reading. This book is rather short on answers though. I guess that is like life. We don't always know why things happen. This may simply be the "realistic" element of the story, but it also seemed that possibly Sharon Creech was writing this way to inspire wondering and thinking on the part of the reader. In some ways I appreciated that, but I think as readers we have expectations from the author. When there is no way to know an answer, we accept that, but in this story, the answers are possible, we just don't get them. That was a bit frustrating.
The boy in the story doesn't speak and this certainly adds to the mystery. It also makes the boy more interesting. The wondering starts. It is also intriguing to see the many ways that he does communicate without the use of his voice. He has a way to "talk" with the animals and he speaks through art and music too.
This is a beautiful story of family and making the world a better place for others. In spite of some of the hardships in the book, I felt a warm glow while reading. There aren't as many jokes, but it did remind me of Creech's earlier book Ruby Holler as we see one more way that a loving family can be made.