Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Girl in the Well is Me by Karen Rivers

I have seen this book on various blogs and Amazon and snagged it off the New shelf at our library. 

I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

The plot is a bit thin, really--a girl is stuck in a well. By the end of the book (*spoiler alert!*) she is out of the well. That is the overarching plot. But reading Kammie's internal monologue while stuck in a well is worth the price of admission. I like this girl. 

(Since there are no illustrations to take pictures of, I will just show you little blips of parts I liked.)

I like people who stay gently where they are, a little bit behind what they are doing. They just sing. You think of the song first because it is so good, before you think of the person doing the singing. 

Preach it, sistah!

Kammie has recently moved to Nowheresville, Texas after a rather traumatic experience back in her hometown in New Jersey and has decided to reinvent herself by joining the popular girl club at school. In order to join the club, they demand Kammie change pretty much everything about herself. And then continue their initiation by having her sing a song while standing on a board. They neglect to tell Kammie the board is slightly rotten. Or that the board is covering up an old well. Whoopsie!

Kammie's Mom tells her to wave her freak flag high, but Kammie is of the opinion she is not a freak, so no, thank you. While in the well, Kammie decides popular girls are not all they are cracked up to be. They are not "your kind of people, honey" as her mother would say. This is majorly stereotypical, since I know some super nice, beautiful people, and some horribly mean geeky people. But there is an element of truth to this. And when you are in your younger years, it is hard to know exactly what kind of people are your kind of people. Everyone is a bit awkward in those in between years.     

While Kammie is stuck in a cold slimey well, the three   andys (Mandy, Sandy, Kandy) vaguely try to help by leaning into the well and telling her to wiggle up or just simply "Get out!" (Kammie is convinced that they are sharing one brain between the three of them, which is why they are so completely useless.) One of the    andys, while leaning into the well to say something, spits her gum in Kammie's hair. The    andys find this hilarious.

I hear Kandy's manic bellow of laughter. She laughs like nothing has ever been funny before and this is the funniest thing that humanity will ever achieve. 

After a long period alone in the well, Kammie hears something snuffling around outside. She thinks it might be a coyote. Then she pictures the coyote falling on her head. Since she has thoroughly rehashed her life up until this point, there is nothing else to think about, so she thinks about the coyote. I love her stream of consciousness thinking here. 

Plus, a silver french speaking coyote is a really great imaginary character. 

After a very long time, the three    andy's come back, with Kandy's Dad is tow. Kammie stops talking to the imaginary silver coyote and starts talking to real people again. She also slips a little lower in the well. And things start feeling a little weird. 

Kammie is definitely below the oxygen level in the well. Hallucinations abound. The zombie goats she thought might be below her (in a worst case scenario) start moving around. She talks to them in French too.

Eventually the National Guard is involved and Kammie is rescued from the well. But really, the well is just an interesting sideline to the main event. Which is getting to know Kammie. Her life is complex and her personality and way of thinking are worth knowing. Kammie, moving to a new town, is trying to navigate her tween years, which are always so fraught, even when you know everyone and don't have the weight of the past and other people's mistakes hanging over you. She is doing the best she can. She likes to picture people's souls like grapes. But once they lie and make big mistakes, their soul turns into a raisin. While in the well, Kammie sees that she "raisined out" by trying to join the popular girls. She needs to stay grape-y. And you can only do that by being yourself. 

Read it!

(I feel like this was a bit of a fluff overview of this book, but if I got too deeply into the complexities of Kammie's life, it seems like it would give too much away. And I am trying to learn not to give too much away. So just read the book!)

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