This book has to rank as the most different book I've read this year. Meaning, I've really never read anything like it before. And it was interesting and refreshing.
Light Boxes, by Shane Jones, is a contemporary fable set in a close-knit town where the month of February is eternal. It is a plague of cold and grey and snow and there is no happiness. The sun is only a distant memory. There is also no flying of any kind - it has been eradicated and banned. Banned by the personification of February who lives in a room in the sky. This ban is enforced by a gaggle of priests who wander around the town with axes, destroying everything in violation of February.
Children have also gone missing. Adults become almost (if not completely) catatonic with the endless days of February dragging on and on. The protagonist/narrator, Thaddeus, has lost his daughter, Bianca, and his wife Selah to February. Thaddeus, at times, flies a contraband kite with his daughter to try and keep the memory of flight and happiness alive.
Eventually Thaddeus, with the help of a group of people in strange colored bird masks, gathers a group of townspeople to try and oust February and the gloom that has consumed them for far too long. They declare war on February. Determined to bring his reign to an end and to let happiness and flight and color and good back into their lives.
Jones has masterfully crafted an interesting and surreal little novel. This books is more than regular words on a page. Jones crafts each page with care and intention - changing fonts, text sizes, and style. Some pages contain lists. Some contain solitary words. Some have whole paragraphs of writing.
Every detail of this book is intended and every detail serves a purpose.
It's impressive, really.
I also will never look at February the same again, for fear of it never ending.
The story, though considered to be a contemporary fable, is not your traditional fable. It is a strange book, and I mean that with the highest of praise for strange. It is morose, and tender, and loving, and imaginative, and sad, and moving, and so much more. It's interesting. And it's well worth the read.
Author: Shane Jones
Date Read: 15 November 2012
Favorite Line: I'm so confused it almost feels calm.
Recommended: Yeah, it's a quick read and interesting. Very different from everything else I've read too.
Recommended For: High School + to fully appreciate it, but I suspect Middle School kids could like it too; If you're looking for something different;