LUCY THE GIANT by Sherri L. Smith


Age Range: 14 & up
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Oversized and 15, Lucy runs away from her bleak life to find herself faking adulthood in an adventure story which takes place in Alaska. After her mother’s abandonment, Lucy has felt obligated to become the caretaker for her alcoholic father. The distance between the two is enormous, notwithstanding Lucy’s frequently rescuing him from the cold storage room at his favorite bar. Lonely and ridiculed for her size at school, Lucy becomes attached to a stray dog only to learn that it is so ill that death is inevitable. Hurt and angry, she suddenly abandons her life in Sitka and finds herself transported to the Bering Sea, where the crab-fishing season is underway. Taken for an adult, she signs on as a crabber and discovers strength in herself and friendship, as well as earning respect and cash in the adult world. With a prologue that takes place ten feet below the surface of the Bering Sea, readers are always aware that ultimately events will become desperate. The overwhelming kindness of most strangers and the fortuitous play of events undermine the edge acquired by this device. Written in many terse sentences that might be intended to indicate homage to Hemingway (The Old Man and the Sea features in the narrative), Smith’s staccato style is occasionally effective, but often irritating. There is an abruptness in the action, an unrealistic scene where Lucy matches tequila shots with a fisherman, and the pacing falters. The narrative teeters between portraying the rugged life in the Arctic waters and the fragility of Lucy internal musings. The unusual setting and the issue of self-esteem as it relates to size are pluses in this otherwise middling first YA effort. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-72940-5
Page count: 217pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2001


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