Sunday, June 7, 2009


Savvy by Ingrid Law was a bit of a disappointment for me. I was so excited to read this book because of its premise and amazing cover, but was letdown once I began to learn about what makes a "savvy" for each person in Mississippi Beaumont's (Mibs) family. A savvy is a magical power of sorts- Mibs' grandpa can move mountains and land, her brother can create hurricanes, and one of her great-aunts went back in time 20 minutes every time she sneezed. On her mother's side of the family, every time a kid in their family turns 13, their savvy presents itself, which is where the beginning of this book opens up: Mibs is a day away from her 13th birthday and she can't wait to find out what her savvy is. But then her dad gets in a car accident the day before her birthday, and suddenly all Mibs can hope for is a savvy that can save her poppa. It's when Mibs believes that her savvy can help her dad wake up from his coma that she decides to steal a bible salesman's bus to try and wake her dad up from his coma with the help from her savvy.

WARNING: I'm about to tell you Mibs' savvy in the next paragraph- brace yourselves.

I wanted to like this book. I really did. And I even spent more time trying to get through the author's overreached prose than I normally do with any other given book. But this book was somewhat of a flop to me. I think one of the problems that I had with the premise of the story was how Mibs' savvy presents itself. After having an awesome setup of literal earthshaking savvys that had something to do with the physical world around them (ground moving, creating hurricanes, moving back in time when sneezes commence, etc.), hers felt not only like a letdown, but like she was given a lesser savvy because she was a girl (Law actually leans towards this reasoning in the book). I don't want to read about a main character who's power is to hear people's inner thoughts through their body art- mainly because (and I know this is going to sound prejudiced and biased, and totally horrible of me) the people who get tattoos are not people that I want to be associated with. No offense to anyone who has a tattoo, but I really don't want to hear the thoughts of people who have them. To me, it just seems as if their thoughts are dirtier (again, I'm sorry to anyone who may be reading this who happens to have a tattoo). Having a main character that associates with those kinds of people (and Law seems to make it a good thing) bothers me. I don't want it to bother me, but I can't help it. It was at this point (once Mibs' savvy presented itself) that I decided to skim the rest.

I felt Law was trying too hard- the main idea of the story was great until it got to the turning point where Mibs' father gets hurt. I love her idea of savvys and powers, but I could tell that this was her first book; Law had no idea where to take the story after coming up with the great story idea. Also, it felt as if she was trying too hard to make her prose "cute" or "whimsical" and original. That drove me crazy. If she would just take out the random "prosy-poetical" one-liners, the story would flow better and keep me from my mental grinding and mumbled curses.

I can see how the premise of the book made it a contender for the Newbery, but I don't think it should have won an honor position at all. Law's lack of control of the language throughout the novel was obvious that it was her first novel and that she didn't have experience under her belt. I am, however, extremely glad this book didn't win the Newbery; I think that Savvy should have gone through a couple more revisions before it was sold to the general public. Hopefully Law will grow out of her overreaching, "cutesy", lofty prose by the time she writes her next novel. Either that, or her editors should do a better job of editing her paragraph structure.

1 comment:

Lepi said...

*laughs* I remember you trying to force yourself to read this one. Impressed that took the time to write a critique.