Ironically, I finished Sounder on time last week. But when I sat down to share my thoughts I lacked the motivation. To tell the truth, I still lack the motivation but I want to get back on the Newbery track so here goes.
Sounder by William H. Armstrong was, to me at least, sad all the way through. An African-American share cropper family in the 19th century South struggles to put food on the table or even provide an education for their children. What appears to be the bright spot in their life is their coon-hunting dog, Sounder whose bark is long and lyrical on the hunt. When the boy’s father is taken to jail for stealing a ham for his family Sounder tries to follow the wagon and is shot in the process. Even though the dog doesn’t die until near the end of the book he is never the same. Seriously, the dog dies, the father dies and even though the boy is able to go live with a schoolteacher and get an education while still being able to help provide for his family I felt sad at all the tragedy surrounding this family.
Interestingly the main character of the story has no name. In fact, the only character that does have a name is the dog. I’m not sure what the author’s intent was in this but for me it gave the story a generalized tone. Even though every share cropper family in the south didn’t have a dog named Sounder I’m sure that most of them faced the same challenges and hardships as this family.
To tell the truth, I’m thankful this was a short read. Not only did its shortness enable me to get back on schedule I was also thankful that I didn’t have to endure the sadness for long.
So the book on the calendar for this last week was The High King by Lloyd Alexander. I went to the library to check it out only to find that it is Book 5 in a five book series. Awesome. Needless to say, I’ll be off course for awhile yet.
(ps: This post is a good example of what I like to call short, sweet and to the point. Also it could be called: Elizabeth is grumpy and writing about a sad book doesn’t help matters.)