Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Storm by Donna Jo Napoli

Napoli, Donna Jo Storm, 343 p. Simon & Schuster, 2014.  $18.  Mature Content: R (humans fascinated by animal sexuality, rape-not described); Violence: PG-13 (women as property); Language: G.  

When the rain started, Sebah did her best to stay above it, even clinging to the highest branches of the few trees above the water and making  raft when it became clear that the trees would disappear.  A boy from her village finds her and claims her as his own, but when a chance encounter with a gigantic boat full of animals leads to Sebah’s rescue, the boy is left behind.  Sebah finds herself in the care of The Queen and The Male, bonobos trapped on the boat with a large variety of other animals.  They help her keep her presence secret, while she helps them and the other animals to remain sane.  

Is the writing good, yes.  Is it descriptive and engaging, yes.  But none of that really matters when I am completely turned off by what is being written.  I didn’t like that Napoli decided that the people on the ark wouldn’t take care of the animals or tend to their exercise and love them.  I didn’t like that Napoli decided that the people on the ark would be repressed, sexless, unloving couples.  I didn’t like that Napoli decided that outside stowaways would be better people to to care for the animals and repopulate the new world than Noah and his family.  I didn’t like the obsessive preoccupation with the sex life of the bonobos.  All she really does is use the background of the ark to tell a completely different story.  That’s definitely her right, but I don’t have to like it.   As always, I welcome any well-thought out, kindly written discussion of the book.  Always happy to hear other reasoned opinions.  

NO.  Cindy, Library Teacher

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