Sunday, June 05, 2011

Book Review: The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O'Connor

Book: The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis
Author: Barbara O'Connor
Published: 2009
Source: Local Library

Nothing ever happens to Popeye. Living out in the country along with his shifty Uncle Dooley and his overburdened grandmother, Velma, each day is the same as the last and next. He longs for changes and adventure. Then he meets Elvis.

Well, not that Elvis.

Elvis Jewell is the oldest of five children. He lives in a Holiday Rambler that's just gotten stuck in the lane that leads to Popeye's house. He's the president of the Spit and Swear club, and just like Popeye, he's ripe for an adventure. But it'll have to be a small adventure, because they've only got a few days until his parents manage to un-stuck the Holiday Rambler and then he'll be gone.

When Popeye and Elvis find boats made out of Yoo-Hoo containers floating down the creek, bearing cryptic messages, they know this is the small adventure they've been looking for. But is there time to have it before Elvis has to leave again?

Time: 0:23:47
Why I Wanted to Read It: With only about an hour and a half left of the 48-Hour Book Challenge, I wanted a very short read, and I've liked Barbara O'Connor's books in the past.

There's a timelessness about this book. It makes no reference to cell phones or the Internet, to anything that anchors it to any particular time beyond now-ish. It's about two bored kids in a long, hot summer, longing for excitement and challenge in lives that don't offer much of either.

Although it's clear that all the characters are living in what comfortable suburban kids would consider abject poverty, O'Connor makes no effort to address or correct this. It is what it is, it's their life, and they're living it.

What is there to take away from such a short, odd little book? What I closed it with is the sense that friendship, no matter how fleeting, is something to be treasured, and adventures, no matter how small, are something to be pursued.

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