Friday, May 22, 2009

BOOK: The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread by Don Robertson, 211 pages

Booking Around the States: Ohio

Morris Bird III is nine years old in 1944 living in Cleveland, Ohio. He decides to skip school and walk across town to visit his friend who moved. What an adventure Morris Bird III has. It turns out that the same day he decided to walk across town, Cleveland had a huge natural gas explosion. The gas explosion was real but Morris Bird III was not.

In order to be brave, you have to be brave all the way. You have to understand that you must take the consequences for an Unexcused Absence.

It's a story about bravery and doing your best, and being determined. One of the reasons Morris Bird III makes his trek is to make allowances for his past misdeeds. One of these was imagining that he had a speedometer in his stomach that turned every year on his birthday. Also, he has a little sister.

There they went every morning, and oh my wasn't it ever sweet, dear little Morris Bird III leading his dear little snot of a sister by her dear little hand as they went, tra la la, hippity hop, off to school.
Oh what a picture. Ugh.
Hand in hand.
Ah, the world was gray and bleak, and no one suffered the way Morris Bird III suffered.

Stephen King described Robertson as one of the three writers who influenced him as a young man who was trying to "become" a novelist. (wikipedia) I can definitely see the influence. The repetition of words, the sounds, the run-on descriptions, and the overall great writing are all here and I could easily have believed that King might have written this. It's the folksy style but packed with a punch, and the repetition. Other people in Cleveland were affected by the explosion (over 200 were killed) and their stories are told as well, rather urgently in very long paragraphs, jumping from one person to another. It was a little confusing, but it all came together in the end.

Morris Bird III is a character that makes quite an impression. As the first sentence in the book states: The legless man was wise enough to understand that heroes can be found in the damnedest places. Which was why he didn't hesitate when he called the boy the greatest thing since sliced bread.

7 comments:

John Mutford said...

Was the greatest thing since sliced bread a red wagon?

Lori L said...

I loved this book too. It could even make it on a personal best books list. The two books that continue the story of Morris Bird III are going to be re-released in August and September, I believe.

Bybee said...

Oh, that's great news...I had heard that the second one would be out this year, but didn't know about the third one!

Jenny said...

This looks good! I'll have to read the end before I read the rest of it, of course, just to make sure everything turns out all right...

Jenny said...

This looks good! I'll have to read the end before I read the rest of it, of course, just to make sure everything turns out all right...

Jenny said...

Sheesh, sorry for the double-post. Google's messing with me.

Kailana said...

This looks good! I like the title, anyway. :)