As it turns out, there is a very strong connection, a very meaningful connection, but it isn't really apparent for a while. Before I actually found out how the Electrolux figured into the story, though, I was already well engrossed in it.
Clifford Leigh's wild fantasy reminds me of Alice in Wonderland in many ways, including the long fall down the rabbit hole. In The Wordsmith, the Kid and the Electrolux, the fall is into a picture in a box and roughly bumping down the branches of a humongous tree. The protagonist of the story meets a number of unusual people in this new place he's fallen into and finds himself in all kinds of difficult and weird situations. It's a world full of living pictures, framed ones, and the people choose whether or not to enter various photos. It seems that at least part of these images are connected with certain people and events running in and out. Corey, the main character, just kind of meanders along and finds himself following twins Benjamin and Ben Endben, who are total opposites in personality and behavior, and yet...well, you'll see if you read the book. Benjamin seems to be the spiritual and ethical brother, but he's always rubbing people the wrong way. He shows everyone these pictures that seem to have special meaning. Most people get annoyed, but a few have an 'aha' moment that changes them. Corey doesn't understand as Benjamin seems to speak in riddles (or parables), yet he is drawn to the strange boy and his pictures. They end up getting in a lot of trouble when...well, again, you need to read the book.
The book takes a while getting to the fall into the box and down the tree, but it's necessary in order to build the back story. Corian "Corey" Griffin is a very selfish boy who doesn't really care for his parents or little sister except for what they can do for him. He starts stealing money from his father's change box so that he can get instant gratification with an ice cream fix. He is oblivious to the family situation, and when his father has to leave home in order to get a job to support the family, Corey's only concern is that his money source won't be replenished. It all comes to a head when the box no longer contains any quarters, and Corey is afraid of being found out. Then the Electrolux starts acting up, and Corey takes off for the adventure of his life.
The main reason I liken this book to Alice in Wonderland is because it is so much more than it seems. With a young boy as a protagonist and a story around his bad behavior and family relationship, it appears to be a middle-grade fantasy. Just like Alice, though, this is quite deceptive. The symbolism and truths that unfold are definitely adult level in a tale with deep corners. I think a younger person can appreciate one level, a teenager another, and adults yet another level. I guess it's kind of like C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia in that way. As you might predict, Corey's relationship with his family will change, but more importantly, he comes to terms with another Father and the Son as well. I don't want to give too much away, but I was awestruck by the way Leigh explains Jesus' sacrifice and so much more.
I'll have more to say about this book later on this week. Granted, it's a bit odd, but if you take a chance on reading it, it will be well worth your while, whether you're 11 or 41.
I received a review copy of this book free for review purposes, but I never recommend a book or give a good review unless I honestly mean it. And I heartily recommend The Wordsmith, the Kid and the Electrolux. In fact, I am going to give away a copy on my own dime. On Sunday, January 10, I'll choose one name from those who leave comments here and elsewhere on the CFRB tour. This will include comments on all my blogs on the tour and all those by other CFRB members.
Purchase The Wordsmith, the Kid, and the Electrolux at
Amazon, Amazon Kindle, or Barnes and Noble.
Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.