Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Sky Fisherman by Craig Lesley: Book Review

Where do I begin with such a wonderful book! Such beautifully described characters and a book that takes place in Oregon? Well, I will begin with I LOVE THIS BOOK! I was worried about reading it, before I started reading it because the reviews and ratings weren't so fabulous. They said it didn't have a plot, so I talked to my teacher about it. He also loves this book, and has actually talked to Craig Lesley (The author of The Sky Fisherman), so he knows it doesn't have a very good plot, but it's still a wonderful read. This book takes place in the Madras-Warm Springs area. Actually, Gateway (the town in the book) is the town of Madras. I figured that out on the way to John Day for the field trip for Honors Biology. As we were passing through Madras, there was a sign that said, "Welcome to Madras: Gateway to Central Oregon." Well, there is also a town called 'Central' in the book. Gateway is the main town, so I put the pieces together and viola! I figured it out. I don't know why I loved this book so much... maybe it was because I had my own copy that I bought over Spring Break, maybe because it took place in Oregon, in a place I am very familiar with, an area I drive through a lot and an area that I love driving through. An area that is so beautiful to me, I can't help but take pictures of the canyon rock. Maybe I loved it because of all the descriptions, how wonderfully they were described and all the details. Wow, I love books like that. I hope to write a GOOD book some day, a book that someone will love and maybe make it on the New York Time's Best Seller list. I love that list. I want to be on there some day. 
Anyway... I got way off topic. I will give you a brief summary of the book. The book is narrated by a man, the main character who is Culver. Culver is narrating it from when he is older, and looking back. Culver, his mother and his step father have moved around all over Oregon. His mother ends up leaving the step dad and taking Culver with her. When that happens, the step dad goes crazy and does some crazy things. When the mom and Culver get to Gateway, Culver works in his Uncle's sporting goods shop. While he is living in Gateway, some crazy stuff happens. Murders, fires, floods, etc. You really fall in love with the characters and you grow attached to them. I pictured Culver this handsome young man, who was tall and lean, but not too skinny, and especially not too big. But muscular and of course with abs... tee hee. In the book, Culver was always mentioned as 'handsome', so I put 'handsome' in my mind. Flora, Culver's mother was mentioned as 'beautiful' and 'hollywood movie star beautiful', so I imagined her mature and beautiful, not many wrinkles but some... maybe smile lines and a little bit of forehead wrinkles when she furrows her brow, when she is unhappy. I pictured her a slim woman, but still motherly. I pictured Jake, Culver's uncle as a big burly man, a little rough around the edges and having some scruff sometimes. I pictured all the characters in their own way. I pictured Billyum (The Native American sheriff) looking like Cloud Dancing on the 90's TV show, Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman. Everything had a wonderful description and it really painted a picture in my head. I liked that I knew what town they were in (for the millionth time, I know...), I could picture it easier and I knew where they were going and what they were doing. It was a spectacular book with a curious ending... very curious. 
I give this book a 5/5. ***** 5 Stars. At first, I put 4 out of 5... but I knew that would not be fair to such a wonderful book that I enjoyed immensely! A wonderful book that kept me GLUED, A wonderful book that takes place in Oregon... by golly I gotta give it a 5/5! I am definitely going to read more books by Craig Lesley. He is a fantastic writer. He has wonderful skill! 
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Now, we usually do an activity with every book we read. We did a lot of Oregon/Native American activities and things. First off, we did a summary activity, where after every reading assignment, we would write in a four sentence summary of that reading assignment, what happened in those 5 chapters. Well... I didn't read the directions... and I didn't listen very well... because I did not write just four sentences... I wrote a whole paragraph of the summary. I CAN'T HELP IT! I love details, and I had to include every event and every detail in my summaries! I didn't get any more points than any other Honors English student. I got 24 points out of 24 points and I am so happy with my score! I love my score and I love my hobbie and love of writing, and details! This is my summary paper... Front and Back...
Another activity we did was read Oregon Lit Series, and collect three pieces from three different books and write an analysis type thing in a provided packet. I chose three wonderful pieces. 
The first one was by Katherine Dunn, about why she lived in Portland, and why she loved it or hated it. It was a wonderful piece, and I could relate to it because I live in Portland and I know exactly what she is talking about. Some of her quotes were just so brilliant! 
This is what she calls Portland, Oregon:
"Glory of the underworld"
"The dank armpit of the nation"
"Attached to it [Portland] by an umbilical cord of piano wire"
WOW. That explains Portland to me! And I have found the words that I have been trying to say about Portland, I have found the words, and she said them. Thank you Katherine Dunn!
This piece was found in: Varieties of Hope: Oregon Prose
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The next piece I wrote about was a poem by Ellen Shannon. 
It was a beautiful poem, a sad poem and a curious poem. It was about the death of her little daughter.... I THINK. I am not sure... I think she was talking about the death her little daughter, but you never can tell with a poem unless you talk with the poet, but even then, they might not tell their secret. Anyway, it was a bitter sweet poem, and I chose it for my second piece. The poem is called: Daughter/ , and yes it with the the slash  [/] at the end.
I got this piece from the book: From Here We Speak: An Anthology of Oregon Poetry
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The next piece I wrote about was a fantastic piece. It was hilarious, cute and perfect. It was out of a folk literature book, but it was really an oral history. It was from an interview of a mother to her son, telling him what it was like living in Logging camps as a newly wed... and soon to be mother. It was very hilarious! The tiny, dank cabins they slept in, and how the newly weds were teased. She said when they had the chance, they high-tailed it out of there. Ha, it was a very interesting piece. I loved reading it and it was a good story, true story. I loved it the most because it mentioned: marriage and babies. I find those topics very cute! Oh! and it mentioned shopping. :)
I got this piece from: The Stories We Tell: An Anthology of Oregon Folk Literature.
Here is the picture of the packet and my SCORE!!! 55/55 booyaaa!!!!
Part of the activity was that we had to pick one of the pieces we wrote about, and tell what we wrote and what we thought about that piece in front of the class, sort of like a short, spoon fed speech. EASY!!!
I did my 'speak-a loud' on the first piece, "Why I Live In Portland" by Katherine Dunn because I liked that one the most.
All in all, I can say that this 'unit' or book and book activity was the best out of the whole year. Even beats Great Expectations and To Kill A Mocking Bird . 
The Sky Fisherman by Craig Lesley is a fabulous book and I recommend it to anybody and everybody!
Pick up a copy and start reading it. If you have any questions about the ending, because it is a little confusing, and I got the ending meaning wrong, my teacher told me the actual meaning of the ending and I felt better.
I hate sad endings... this book only has a confusing ending which is fine!
Hope you enjoyed my book review! I was so excited and so looking forward to blogging about this book!

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