Brought to you by OBS reviewer JoAnne
Stare through the smoke and let your eyes burn.
While cane leaves crackle and harvesters whir, while blades shatter armies of sugar-sweet sticks, watch for ghosts in the smoke, for boys made of blur, fast as rabbits and faster.
Shall we run with them, you and I? Shall we dodge tractors and fire for small handfuls of fur? Will we grin behind shirt masks while caught rabbits stick in our hands?
Shoes are for the slow. Pull ’em off. Tug up your socks. Shift side to side. Chase. But be quick. Very Quick. Out here in the flats, when the sugarcane’s burning and the rabbits are running, there can be only quick. There’s quick, and there’s dead. (From inside front cover).
I know this is listed as a children’s book, but the title got me. Boys of Blur. I knew I had to read it, and I’m glad I did. For while it is technically a children’s book, I don’t think it is for small children; rather those around twelve or older.
Charlie Reynolds lives with his mother Natalie, half-sister Molly and stepfather Prester Mack. Prester, like Charlie’s biological father, is an ex-football player more of a father to him than his own ever was. While at a funeral for Mack’s old high school coach he meets his second cousin, Cotton, who is home-schooled by his mother, intelligent and full of knowledge; and together the two boys become fast friends and and immediately begin adventuring into “the muck,” where Cotton offers some truth about how it came to be.
Mack has been offered the coach’s position teaching football at the high school, and when he discusses it with his family, decides to accept. While watching Mack coach football one day, the sugarcane begins burning. Mack offers cash to any boy who can return with rabbits. It is a test of their running speed, and the burning forces the rabbits away from the fire toward the boys. It is a ritual of Taper, and Charlie is invited along this time. (Don’t worry; they release the rabbits after catching them).
This is Charlie’s second adventure into the muck which surrounds the town of Taper and it leads him into an adventure even he could never have imagined. It is there that Charlie discovers the secrets and dreams of this that surrounds Taper, and the people within its boundaries. There is evil and there is good, and Charlie must find the truth in it all.
The author’s imagery is strong, and the story is compelling. I would love to say more about this book, but cannot, because saying more would be giving too much away, and I don’t want to diminish anyone’s pleasure in reading it. I would recommend this book not only for children, but for anyone who has a sense of spirit and adventure.