________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 7 . . . . November 23, 2007

cover

Click.

Linda Sue Park and others.
New York, NY: Arthur A. Levine Books (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2007.
217 pp., hardcover, $20.99.
ISBN 978-0-439-41138-6.

Subject Headings:
Photojournalism-Fiction.
Adventure and adventurers-Fiction.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4

excerpt:

Grandpa Gee, a photojournalist. For almost fifty years he’d traveled all around the world taking pictures. War. Nature. People. Sports. There was no subject he wasn’t interested in. His real name was George – George Keane – but he’d always signed his photos G. Keane, so everyone called him Gee.

Jason and Maggie were Henschlers – Gee was Mom’s father – but Gee’s name was part of theirs. Jason Keane Henschler and Margaret Keane Henschler. Maggie liked that Keane was her middle name, not hyphenated. She loved Dad’s family too, but in her heart – in the middle of her – she felt like she was mostly Keane.

Mom and Dad had been to see Gee’s lawyer and brought back the gifts Gee had left to Jason and Maggie in his will.

 

In today’s world of digital photography, the once familiar sound of a camera shutter’s opening and closing is rarely heard. Click consists of 10 “photographs”, each written by a different award-winning and/or bestselling author from the United States, Ireland, England, Australia or Canada. The book’s being written by a global group of writers is most appropriate since the royalties are being donated to support the work of Amnesty International, a world-wide organization “concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights.”

     Newbery winner Linda Sue Park “takes” the first word photo, “Maggie,” which provides the focus for the remaining nine chapters, each bearing a given name. Following the death of their photojournalist grandfather, George Keane, Margaret Keane Henschler, a junior high student, and her high school senior brother, Jason Keane Henschler, each inherit something from Grandpa Gee. In Jason’s case, it’s a collection of photos of famous sports stars, “all the photos autographed with a personal message to Jason.” A grieving Maggie is slow to open what had been bequeathed  her, but, when she finally does, she discovers a wooden box containing seven compartments, each containing a different seashell. A note from Gee says, “Throw them all back.” It takes Maggie some time to unravel Gee’s puzzle before she understands that each seashell was taken from the ocean shore of one of earth’s seven continents and that Gee wants her, over her lifetime, to experience travel as he had.

     The third chapter, Eoin Cofler’s “Jason,” reveals that Jason had been adopted while Maggie was the Henschlers’ natural daughter, and, in Jason’s eyes, the more favored child. Upon his sixteenth birthday in eight months, an embittered Jason plans to run off to Tobago to find his birth father. To acquire enough money for the trip, Jason has already stolen and pawned an old Civil War spyglass that his grandfather had stored in the Henschler basement. Now, he plans to sell the autographed sports photos left him by Gee, but the junk shop owner also wants an old box camera of Gee’s that Jason had mentioned. When Jason goes to retrieve the camera, he finds a life transforming note from Gee in which Gee says he was aware of Jason’s earlier theft and regrets that he was not Jason’s real grandfather but that fact does not diminish his love for him.

     The subject matter of the remaining eight chapters is linked to either the subject of one of Gee’s photos or to the geographic setting in which Gee acquired one of Maggie’s shells. For example, Chapter Six, “Vincent,” by Roddy Doyle, provides the story behind Gee’s taking Muhammad Ali’s photograph in Ireland in 1972 while Ruth Ozeki’s Chapter 8, “Jiro,” explains how Gee, in postwar Japan, came to be given the shell representing Asia.

     The two Canadian contributors are both very well-known – Deborah Ellis and Tim Wynne-Jones. Ellis furnishes Chapter 4, “Lev,” which features a 17-year-old prisoner who is in a cell with four others in a Russian prison. Lev, imprisoned for stealing to survive, is the person who made the box that Gee gave to Maggie, an item that Gee acquired when he went into the prison to take photographs for LIFE magazine. The seventh chapter, “Min,” is authored by Wynne-Jones, and its contents focus on 16-year-old Jasmine, aka Min, who seeks to be invisible. Into her world comes Jason, now a budding photographer, and his convincing her to become his model not only makes Min public but ultimately leads to finding the terrible reason behind her desire for invisibility.

     The final two chapters, “Afela” and “Margaret,” written respectively by Margo Lanagan and Gregory Maguire, could almost be considered as science fiction because each is set in or after the 2030's, but they do effectively bring the “album” and its major characters to closure. Added closing features are brief biographical notes on the contributors as well as information about Amnesty International.

     Though Click could be perceived as being a collection of short stories, in order for readers to experience the book’s full impact, it really must be read in its entirety and in the sequence in which the chapters are ordered.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, from Winnipeg, MB, is CM’s editor.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

NEXT REVIEW |TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS ISSUE - November 23, 2007.

AUTHORS | TITLES | MEDIA REVIEWS | PROFILES | BACK ISSUES | SEARCH | CMARCHIVE | HOME