Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Book 47: Into The Dream by William Sleator

I hesitate to even type the title of this book onto the Internet because I harbor dreams of adapting it into a screenplay and I don't want to give anyone any crazy ideas. Oops, too late.

Somehow this novel-for-teens/tweens came into the O'Malley world way back when and my sister Sheila and I flipped our collective lids over it. Then college happened, life happened, shit happened, and I forgot all about it. Until one day in New York City I came across it in some bookstore (The Strand, perhaps, which my father insisted on visiting every time he came down from Rhode Island) and I snapped it up.

It took me probably the subway ride home to re-read it and pass it on to Sheila.

Fun little side note...another long lost book that I'll probably highlight later on in the list came back into my world at around the same time. Sheila was living with me and my now-ex-wife-then-fiance on the Upper West Side. Somehow she knocked this book out the window and down onto a ledge outside of the apartment below us. We then had to go slide a note under their door and, um, sorry about this, you're not gonna believe it, but 'The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)' is on your ledge and could you, um, bring it upstairs? Thanks!

'Into The Dream' is a thriller and a love story. The love blossoms between two sixth graders who begin the book as cootie-fearing rivals as the smartest in class and slowly discover that they are each having identical dreams. I refuse to give any details away so that when I pitch the blockbuster to Tom Cruise or Steven Spielberg there will be some surprises left.

There is an element in the story of governmental intrusion, of the sinister element of a faceless power attempting to co-opt the life of a citizen and utilize it for nefarious goals. For me, an 11 year old who had not yet learned about cynicism or world-weary pessimism, this was akin to what it must have felt like for many people to discover that the President of the United States had covered up a break-in. I was devastated.

At the same time the book managed to inject a kind of hope into this dark vision, to remind me that in spite of that kind of adult danger, there were still girls to like, dreams to share, kindnesses to perpetrate.

If you have a young reader in your family, track this book down on Amazon and send it along. It might seem a bit quaint in this day and age but quaint can still pack quite a punch when it is done well.

Well done, Mr. Sleator. And let's do lunch.

P.S. Sheila tells me that it was actually 'Into The Dream' which fell to the ledge below.

1 comment:

Peter said...

Your reaction here reminds me of a book I read as a young teenager called The War Between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids, which was powerful stuff for a young reader. There is love, adventure, all out wars against the teachers, betrayals, and a deep respect for the beauty of individualism. Although, this is one of the first books I can remember reading that didn't end how I wanted it to end.

Thanks for returning to the blogosphere.