Blog Your Blessings: Rick Riordan
Author Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series blends the unforgiving, gritty reality of a sixth-grade social misfit whose mother works at a candy store to get by and the marvelous possibilities and fantastic images of Greek mythology. Percy narrates his own tale, and he tells it with the candor of a boy who is a little too worldly for his own good.
I would say this is a page-turner except that I listened to it on CD with my daughter as we made our way from North Carolina to Pennsylvania this summer. Enough to say it was hard to stop the car and put the story on pause for a few days--even in a city as marvelous as Philadelphia. I never read the story, but I heard it, and my daughter says that counts.
A little more than a week ago I got to talking about the first book, The Lightening Thief, with a student who is not in my class but is always around me, somehow. He's a quiet, sweet kid who never fails to say hello and tell me the news. He was interested in the book, and the more we spoke the more clearly I saw Percy Jackson in him--minus the edge. This is a gentle boy with his own complicated life and his own course through it. He keeps his head down.
So I bought the series and told him he could borrow them one at a time. After Labor Day weekend, a full three days with the first book, he was ready for the second. From Tuesday until today, he found the time to finish the second one. I left him with the third book on my way out the door today.
"Miss, I wouldn't know anything about this--except what I learned about Greek mythology last year in social studies--if I hadn't have met you." He was so sweet and candid, so happy to read books and step into the world of fantasy that literature offers.
Percy mediates his life through the figures of Greek mythology, who are indeed as real today as they were when they were born in the names of those ancient, anonymous Greeks. The point, I think, is that we can all do that, and in the process, discover that all of life is fantastic. That we are fantastic.
Thank you, Rick Riordan.