Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Word Gang by Mark McKenna

Title: The Word Gang
Author: Mark McKenna
Release Date: December 8th, 2010
Publisher: Precipitation Press
Pages: 266
Format: Paperback
Acquired: From Author
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 2 Stars

"The Word Gang" is the story of three kids in school who start using 'big' words to be disruptive. It is also the story of the transformational friendship between a troubled young girl, Kalisha Jackson, and a lonely old polyglot, Albrecht Spinoza. Other characters have to deal with assimilation into America (Sahmbaht Chan) and living with an alcoholic parent (BD Delbene). Lastly, "The Word Gang" is a very sneaky inquiry into the nature of language itself.

I'm not sure what my general feelings are for this book. It had an interesting plot to it and a lot of diverse characters to it, but for some reason the story did not click with me as well as I first had thought it would when I got it.

I think that my main problem with this book is that all the characters are trying to connect in some way this different types of people in order to draw in readers, but the problem that this book seems to have is that the characters are too unreal.

While I believe it is possible that a student, who is smart and cunning, can skip school for a year, I feel like the way Kalisha did it is not proof enough for me that she could get away with it. And her reasons behind it, just don't convince me enough that she shouldn't go to school.

And the other characters, they just felt like they were trying too hard. And the teacher, I don't understand him at all. This program that Kalisha and the other students are in makes little sense to me.

Really, for a lack of better words this book just left me speechless. Speechless in the way that it's different type of read for those who don't like books that go the traditional format of writing, because this book switches narration. McKenna introduces these switched narration by putting them in the middle of the page and italicizing them, and while this heads up is all great and good, I still feel like it adds to this books confusion.

I gave it a two for it's originality, but in everything else this book falls incredibly short.

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