26 April 2012

Book Review: The Monument

Title: The Monument
Author: Gary Paulsen
Publisher/Year: Yearling / 1993
Source/Format: Shelves / Print
Date Finished: 28 March 2012
Book # 18

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
Mick Strum has been commissioned to design a memorial for a small Kansas town, but in order to do so, he roams the town, drawing people, places, and animals to figure out what sort of memorial will work for everyone. In the process, he teaches a young girl, Rocky, how to be an artist, and he teaches the town to look at themselves honestly.

A Bit of a Ramble
My description is a bit disingenuous; it sounds like Mick is the protagonist when in fact it is Rocky readers follow and cheer for. I do feel, however, that any description must focus on Mick as he is the locus of change for everyone. It is his introduction to the town which shifts Rocky's entire perception. He shows her how to look beyond the surface, to capture the essence of the object or person being drawn, and how in so doing, an artist can get at the truth.

I think that whole idea - the capturing of an intangible truth - is what appealed to me when I read this as a kid. It's such an esoteric and Deep concept, and my teenage soul resonated with that possibility. While I still feel that deep tug inside for stories like this, I'm a bit more practical and a bit less beatnik these days.

The story, however, still pulls me in. It's such a short, sweet ride, and I highly recommend reading this one.

This counts for my
GOAL #1: Read Books I Own


  1. I'm pretty impressed that a book this introspective captured your imagination as a kid! And there I was reading V.C. Andrews! Ha!

  2. I also was a reader of V.C. Andrews and books with titles like "Obsession", so I clearly wasn't the typical YA reader. I like the sound of this of this one, and I think it sounds like a wonderful little read to stick in between denser things. Very nice review today. You have intrigued me with this book!

  3. I really like Gary Paulsen and one of these days intend to get to all of his!

  4. This was one of my favorite books when I was about 12 or 13. I think I was drawn to it for the same reason you were - "the capturing of an intangible truth." I also secretly wished I could be that kind of an artist. I haven't read this in years; I wonder what I would think of it now?

  5. I was just talking to people about Gary Paulsen earlier this week when reminiscing about childhood. What is it about grade school that makes teachers ONLY assign students to read books that center around death-defying adventure, dying pets or the Holocaust?...


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