Olshan's creative prose shines in Chloe's sharp, intimate, funny narrative, which is filled with vivid observations, philosophical musings, and insights into the world and people around her. Teens who have read Twain's book will appreciate Olshan's direct references and parallels; those who haven't will like the action and the heroine's resourcefulness. The book's satire and cynicism may create controversy and strike some readers as harsh, but the novel effectively raises awareness of contemporary social concerns, and, like the classic, is certain to invite both thought and discussion.
Finn: A Novelby Matthew Olshan
The book's narrator is Chloe Wilder, a quiet girl, part tomboy, part survivor. Rescued from a murderous life with her
Imagine a modern-day retelling of Mark Twain's classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with a teenage girl and a very pregnant young Mexican as the main characters. That's the gist of Matthew Olshan's brilliant literary debut, Finn: a novel.
The book's narrator is Chloe Wilder, a quiet girl, part tomboy, part survivor. Rescued from a murderous life with her mother, Chloe lives with her grandparents in the cocoon of a quiet, middle-class neighborhood. For the first time in her life, things are steady, safe-and stifling.
Enter Silvia Morales, the grandparents' maid. Silvia is an illegal immigrant, but that's not her only secret: she's also pregnant, a transgression which gets her kicked out of the house. Not long after, Chloe is torn from her quiet life, too, and forced to live on the run.
While Finn: a novel is about Chloe and Silvia's comic mishaps on the road-and their brushes with real danger-it's also a dark portrait of modern America, where smug suburbanites live minutes away from the wilderness of inner cities, and once-mighty rivers meander under superhighways.
Young people will read Finn: a novel as a good, old-fashioned adventure story. Adults will read it as nuanced social criticism. But virtually every reader will see in Chloe Wilder a resilient, funny, and complex heroine for our time.
Look for Finn: a novel to generate some of the same controversy that still surrounds Twain's Huckleberry Finn, the sixth most banned book in the United States in the year 2000. The characterization of Silvia Morales, Chloe Wilder's Latina "partner in crime," is likely to spark an up-to-the-minute debate about racism in America. Olshan's novel raises the question: what will it take for young people to unlearn their nation's unconscious racial hostility?
- Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.92(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)
- Age Range:
- 12 - 17 Years
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After living largely unsupervised with her temperamental mother, Chloe Wilder feels as if she found paradise when she moves into the home of her grandparents. Though they constantly misinterpret Chloe¿s natural reticence and quietness for anger, her grandparents provide her material things, an allowance, and loving encouragement. On the other hand when the kind Mexican maid Sylvia begins to show her pregnancy, they toss her out, but not before checking to see if anything was stolen. Everything changes when ¿Soul Patch¿ abducts Chloe. It turns out that he is her mother¿s new husband because not long afterward, her mother¿s cursing as usual enters the dilapidated, filthy home. They keep Chloe locked away, but she manages to escape with her only hope to survive the mean streets being Sylvia. FINN: A NOVEL like its titled predecessor can be read on varying levels. It is an exciting young adult adventure tale with major social issues turning it into a thought-provoking adult-tale. Chloe with Sylvia as her guide falls from the elite radar screen into a lower class maelstrom where she learns much about class society in America from her experiences on the street. Matthew Olsham accomplishes quite a task blending social commentary that questions who really has ¿class¿ into an interesting adventure that never preaches only entertains. Harriet Klausner