Monday, July 14, 2014
Finally -- The Lightning Thief
Riordan, Rick (2005) The Lightning Thief New York: Scholastic.
Okay, so yes, I should have read this nine years ago. What can I say -- I was in the midst of my Ph.D. program. I know that is no excuse -- not really. So better late than never, right?
This is simply a wonderful book (immensely more wonderful than the cheesy movie version) -- mostly because of the protagonist's voice. Listen to these paragraphs from the fist page:
My name is Percy Jackson.
I'm twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a private school for trouble kids in upstate New York.
Am I a trouble kid?
Yeah, you could say that.
This is a narrator, and a story, that holds a promise from the start. And once Percy vaporizes his algebra teacher, wrecks a bus, and finds out that his best friend is actually a faun, and his favorite teacher is a centaur, things really get interesting. It turns out that Percy is actually a demigod -- the son of a mortal mother and one of the Greek Gods. Soon he finds himself hiding out at a camp for demigod children and tasked with a quest -- to return the stolen master thunderbolt to Zeus before the gods have a war and destroy the world. Besides Grover, his friend who is a faun, Percy goes on his quest with Annabeth who is smart and a good fighter.
And what follows is an excellent story with countless references to and echoes of Greek mythology. There is some violence in it, but nothing really objectionable to students or parents, at least that I noticed.
If you know a 4th grade or older student, male or female, there is a good chance they have read this book. If they haven't, tell them they really should, right away. They might ask you if you have read it. If I were you, I would get a copy right away.