It is finally the weekend! God that was a long week. Does anyone else find that after they have had a week off time really drags? Because it sure as hell dragged for me this week. Anyway, since it is finally Saturday, it is time for a book review. This week it is the turn of Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D Schmidt. Let’s do this.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this book. I really don’t. I had been looking forward to reading it for about a year, ever since it first popped into my amazon recommendations. And now I have finally read it and I don’t know how I feel.
I was expecting this to be either a really gritty, heart wrenching story that focused on a young father trying to prove to the world that he can take care of his child or for it to be a warm, sunny story all about overcoming obstacles and proving to the world that he could do it. and it wasn’t really either of these things. It was a bit meh. First off, this is a YA novel (possibly teen, but pretty sure YA, either way my point will still stand) (I just looked it up, it is classed as middle grade in the US, YA in the UK) but the narrator is only 12. And it reads a lot younger than that. like, a lot a lot, younger. When I first started reading this I honestly thought the narrator was maybe 9. (side note, had to google what ages 6th and 8th graders are). and this honestly just left the story feeling very young. And it isn’t really a young story. There are some really deep topics in this book. It should have been written with a much older narrator.
Not only did it just not have any impact from such a young voice, so much went unexplored because of it. For instance, throughout the story there where hints at child abuse, there is mentions of drug abuse, of physical violence, possible sexual assault and more, and none of it is talked about. It is just hinted at in passing and not explored. This is the biggest let down for me. This could have been a fantastic novel that explored really really dark topics and it just feel so short.
There were also a few other little issues that I had with this book. For instance, the fact that the young father in the book was 13. I was expecting maybe 16, possibly 15. But no, 13. It didn’t feel right and didn’t feel like it would happen in real life (I know that there are cases of 13-year-old parents but they are so rare). I also wasn’t sure how I felt regarding Joseph’s father. That whole thing just would not happen. And there is more that I am not even going to bother mentioning like the whole ending.
I will say this though; I think that this books biggest issue was its length. It was only 200 pages and it needed to be longer. Its shortness just meant that the story had no weight to it. Schmidt tried to put too much into too few pages and failed. There wasn’t enough time for the story to develop, at all, there wasn’t enough time to connect to any of the characters. I felt nothing to towards anyone. It was just too short. If it had been double the length, then it could have been brilliant. it had everything it needed to be great, it just wasn’t.
The premise was great but the execution was not.
1.5 out of 5
And there we go. I so wanted to love this little story. have you read it? what did you think about it? I hope that you have enjoyed todays post and I will see you all again very soon.