The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
Reif Larsen
book reviews:
· general fiction
· chick lit/romance
· sci-fi/fantasy
· graphic novels
· nonfiction
· audio books

Click here for the curledup.com RSS Feed

· author interviews
· children's books @
   curledupkids.com
· DVD reviews @
   curledupdvd.com

newsletter
win books
buy online
links

home

for authors
& publishers


for reviewers

click here to learn more




Buy *The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet* by Reif Larsen online

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet
Reif Larsen
The Penguin Press
Hardcover
352 pages
May 2009
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

buy this book now or browse millions of other great products at amazon.com
previous reviewnext review

If T.S. Spivet wants to understand something, solve a problem, capture a moment, or learn about a topic, he draws a map. Since the age of eight, heís been mapping his life (and all the mysteries that arise in it) in his color-coded notebooks. Heís mapped his sister, Gracie, shucking corn, the location of his last will and testament, and his brotherís autopsy report. Some maps take only minutes, while others can take as long as four months.

He finds one map impossible to draw, though: the map of his fatherís face. What he lacks in mapping ability in this case, he aces in words. He describes his fatherís eyebrows as Ďtoo explosiveí; his mustache as recalling Ďboth the wonder and confidence one possesses when turning to confront the infinite skyline of the range at duskí; and the time he was with his father and ĎNothing mattered anymore. We were off the map.í

Mapping makes T.S. happy, but it makes his sister a little jealous and his father cranky and causes his mother and Dr. Yorn, his mentor, to lie. When T.S.ís portfolio is sent to the Smithsonian, he is chosen as the winner of a prestigious science award. Realizing he is never going to be a ranch hand like his father and brother, he decides to sneak out of Montana and travel to Washington, D.C. to accept his prize. The problem is that T.S. is only twelve years old.

Endlessly curious about science and history, on his trip to Washington, T.S. maps the landscape as it changes and thinks about how to solve thorny issues like the Butte water supply problem. A resourceful boy, he finds a hiding spot in a traveling Winnebago and train connection information by way of the hobo hotline number. What he packed comes in handy at times, and what he forgot to pack enough of he finds when he has the opportunity.

When heís not drawing maps on his trip, T.S. is reading a story from the past. Found within a notebook he took from his mother, the story causes surprise at first, then frustration - surprise because he thinks itís about his motherís life-work, frustration because itís missing the final pages.

Readers can linger a little longer on the pages of this book. Almost every one contains a black-and-white map, illustration, photograph or diagram; the vocabulary used when narrating T.S.ís story and the characters in it is as detail-oriented as his maps. T.S.ís brother, Layton, their father, T.E. Spivet, and Stinky, the familyís goat, became favorites of mine.

Divided into three parts, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet may take a little longer to read because of the notations in the margins, but I enjoyed the way the author uses his imagination and I felt privileged to see the world through T.S.ís wide-open eyes.

Author Reif Larsen has worked as a professor and a filmmaker. He graduated from Columbia University with a MFA in fiction. He lives in New York.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Tanya Boudreau, 2009

buy *The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet* online
click here for more info
Click here to learn more about this month's sponsor!


fiction · sf/f · comic books · nonfiction · audio
newsletter · free book contest · buy books online
review index · links · · authors & publishers
reviewers

site by ELBO Computing Resources, Inc.