7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Summer D. Hammond
- Published on Amazon.com
Criss-Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins moved and inspired me. The book is about magic. The kind of magic in life that is subtle, that influences our path in life in ways we may not even be aware of, and connects us all. The loss of Debbie's necklace isn't a huge drama or tense mystery, it is there to make us feel magic, as the necklace makes a journey and is passed from person to person, until finally ending up in the hands of the person who may or may not, in a single moment, change Debbie's life. Criss-Cross. The idea of it stunned me, the realization of it's truth left me breathless. One single, seemingly inconseqential moment, can change the life course of another person, or our own life course, entirely. We are constantly "criss-crossing" each other's paths in our daily life, often oblivious to the magic we are making.
The book is also about yearning. Perkins captures beautifully the more subtle yearnings in life: Hector noticing that he and his sister look so much alike and yet...she is more fully realized than he is, more completely her, and inside he yearns to become his full and complete self. Debbie yearns for "something" to happen, but more than that, for something wonderful, some kind of magic to infuse the fogginess of her day-to-day existence. She is oblivious to the loss of the necklace, oblivious to the long, meaningful journey it takes in the effort to fulfill her wish. She also yearns for her mother to see her, to really see the deep-down wishes of her heart for just one moment, to take the time to dig deep and care...
As each of these kid's internal lives are profiled, I began to understand and appreciate the wonder of their existence, the importance of their lives, and the impact they are each having on their world and each other.
It was clear to me, by the end of the book, that Lynn Rae Perkins has a tender love and empathy for young people. She recognizes that their lives are precious and meaningful, and this book seemed in part a quest to validate their importance, to say to them: "Keep doing what you're doing. You're okay. You're doing great things."
I read this book myself, at first, then read it aloud to my husband. He is a truck-driver and, if he isn't listening to audio books, I read aloud many, many books to him as he drives. I often tell people he is a professional reader, and driving a truck is simply a way to support his real passion. When I read Criss-Cross to him, he wouldn't let me put it down, not even to take a drink of water. At the end, in the pivotal scene between Hector and Debbie, where the title of the book really comes to striking life, my husband said he got chills.
I feel it is unfair to say, "Kids would not like this book." Kids have individual tastes, just like adults. Some kids will savor this book, will get chills up and down their spine when they read it, and some kids will find it boring and pointless. Just like adults.
So what I would like to say to the kids is this: If this book interests you, go check it out. To have the richest life, reading and otherwise, you always have to make up your own mind.