Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

"Dear Lili,

As you know, in a few days I'm going to be twelve."

The abstract is hidden because it may contain spoilers. If you would like to read the full summary, simply use your cursor to highlight the next few lines and it will magically appear.

Abstract: Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as "Locomotion," keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 136 pages

Publish Post


Anonymous said...

I didn't feel like this one could be a contender. I felt like I was missing something the entire book and then discovered it was a companion book to Locomotion. I didn't feel like this book was a stand alone book, and I just in general didn't care for it.

Teresa said...

I, on the other hand, loved this book and am ready to put it on the top of my contender list. I didn't think reading Locomotion was necessary at all. But, I liked that book a lot. Just not as much as this one.

Woodson's portrayal of a sensitive young man dealing with so much pain, yet with so much hope, spoke directly to my heart.

Anonymous said...

I actually didn't think I read Locomotion until I started reading this book. Then I remembered reading Locomotion, and I remembered that I thought it was ok. On the other hand, I thought Peace, Locomotion was more than ok. I really enjoyed Lonnie's letters, and I thought it was a nice way to present the book. I thought the story was good, dealing with some real issues that kids deal with today. Contender...maybe, but I think it is too soon to tell, and I have too many other books to read!

Kris said...

I really liked this book -- and I did not read Locomotion, but I want to now. There was so much to think about in this short book...peace, family, loss, separation, war...but it was all portrayed in a beautiful, lyrical way. One of my favorites so far.

Jen said...

Okay, I have cried while reading books before, but I can't remember a book that touched me the way Peace, Locomotion did. Ian came out to make sure I was OK! I didn't feel that reading (or rereading) Locomotion was necessary for reading this book. I also was pleasantly surprised that this book was such an even complement to its predecessor. (I know, strike that from the record.)

The characters of this book sat down beside me as I read it and handed me tissues. They understood all too well the flood of emotions this book can create, and the continuing discussions I want to have over coffee. Now.

Peace, Locomotion brought so many raw emotions to the surface. I could palpably feel the love and the strong and forging bonds in these pages. Regardless of how I feel about the war, the crush of feelings woven throughout the story arcs dovetailed seamlessly with each other and showed real growth in the main character. And the strong familial bonds between the siblings themselves and their first and subsequent families gave me such hope. I had to hug my sleeping daughters. Bravo, Jacqueline Woodson.

Meredith said...

I also felt like something was missing from this book, and I think it's Lili's response. Lonnie writes her letters, but they're more like journal entries since he doesn't send them to her. The story is one-sided and feels somewhat flat.

The writing was poetic, and the tone was authentic. There was a timeless quality to the story. I'm guessing it's set in contemporary times rather than the Vietnam era since Jenkins was activated as a member of the Army Reserves instead of being drafted, but because the children calling every adult woman "Miss" So-And-So sounds old-fashioned, I wonder if it's not the late 60's after all. And all the talk of "peace" and poetry is very 60ish as well.

I haven't read Locomotion, and I thought Peace, Locomotion stood alone. Although, I am curious as to why Lonnie and Lili went to foster care instead of two a relative's or friend of the family's when their parents died. That's a small plot hole.

Having Lonnie's foster brother whom he'd never met lose a leg in Iraq was too heavy-handed, and it completely shifts the focus of the story from a child's internal struggle with the death of his parents, the loss of his sister, life as a foster child, and place in the world to a child witnessing the price of war. And the ending was overly sentimental.
It would have been more powerful if Jenkins were simply stationed there with the looming threat of what could happen rather than having everything over and done with. Keeping Jenkins overseas, in a combat zone, but yet unharmed would have added another dimension to Lonnie's fear of loss; he might lose the foster brother whom he hasn't even met yet.