This book was not bad, but I was hoping it would be a little more exciting and quirky. I also could have used a little less of the narrator’s self loathing rants.
In this delightful, funny, and moving first novel, a librarian and a young boy obsessed with reading take to the road. Lucy Hull, a young children’s librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy’s help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?
Using excerpts from Michener’s books, he writes segments about the animals that were included in the larger stories. This is a wonderful history of the changes of the Earth through the centuries – the development of land and water features and the beginnings of the animal kingdom – from small to huge, back to medium size, and the coming of man. Description of each section is so full of information that the reader feels like he/she is actually there, watching the events happening and understanding the feelings of the animals. One adventure follows two men and a hyena as they explore Africa as friends. Others told about the lives of a mastodon, an ancesstral bison, a crab, a dinosaur, a salmon, armadillos, the comparison of two hunting dogs – a labrador and a chesapeake – by their competing owners, and several other animals. All had names and personalities. I learned so very much about these animals as their stories were told. The last story is told by the author as he visits an old friend who was trying to protect his bird feeder from an invading squirrel, but unwilling to endanger the pest. The squirrel was in no danger.