I was supposed to discuss Ship Breaker today, with you all, and with Kelly, Ana, Chris and Debi. I’m afraid I had to pull out, for the same reason Chris did. I do not remember enough about the book to discuss it! Obviously there is something wrong with me, to not have liked this book so much. It won the Printz! It was nominated for the Nation Book Award! What is wrong with me!?! Yeah, we won’t go into that right now.
So instead of answering the questions that Ana and Kelly are answering, (seriously, go read their posts) I’m going to discuss a little about what the book is about (best I can remember) and talk about why this book just didn’t make much of an impression on me.
I could depend on a generic summary from GoodReads or Barnes & Noble, but in an exercise in brain power, I’m going to attempt to summarize it myself. At the least, we’ll see just how much I really DO remember.
The first thing to remember is that this is a dystopian novel and that the main character is a kid named Nailer. Nailer, by all appearances, seems like an orphan, but he does have a father. And his father is a jerk, a violently mean, drug addict of a jerk. Nailer and his relationship with his father felt very Dickensian to me, with the abuse and fear at every mention of his father. Nailer is young and has a full time job, working on a grounded oil tanker where his small size enables him to scavenge for copper wiring. His life is very day to day and he completely relies on his size to help him make ends meet. He is a scrappy little guy and when he gets a sudden lucky break, it doesn’t take him long to jump at the chance to improve his life.
Once he gets his lucky break, he goes on something of a road/train trip and other hi-jinx ensue. And I got sort of lost. I’m still not sure if the fault is with the book (not likely) or with me (much more likely). I normally enjoy road-trip sequences in books but somehow once I was taken out of Nailer’s home, it took me out of the story and I couldn’t seem to find my way back. I think, as is often the case with YA books especially, once the plot gets moving, it doesn’t let up until the finale. And if you get lost in the course of the pacing, you don’t find your way back, at least that is the way it is for me. I didn’t find my way back. I tried, I really did. I really liked Nailer. I liked his resourcefulness, his do-the-right-thing attitude, his ability to survive. I liked the way Bacigalupi portrayed his bleak version of our future, one we may have if we aren’t careful, and the equal parts of despair and hope he brought to the mix. I think, for me, and I haven’t totally thought this out but, I think I wanted more. I wanted more to Nailer’s story. I wanted more of the other character’s story. I wanted more depth, more emotion, more of a connection to, not just Nailer, but all the other characters (except Nailer’s dad, obvs). I never really connected to any other characters and I really wanted to. And that is why the book didn’t stay with me. I need an emotional connection to a book for it to work for me, and Bacigalupi just didn’t give me that, this time. I was impressed enough with the book that I really want to get my hands on The Wind-Up Girl. I hope he can give me what I want with his adult book.
These guys loved it:
- Pub. Date: May 2010
- Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
- Format: Hardcover , 326pp
- Age Range: Young Adult
- ISBN: 9780316056212