Young Adult Lit/Crit

March 1, 2008

White Darkness: the end.

Filed under: WHITE DARKNESS — Mandy @ 10:34 pm

I finally finished WHITE DARKNESS this past weekend… and my initial reaction is that I am surprised that this text won an award over TRUE DIARY. Not to discount this book in any way, but I really did like Alexie’s text better for many reasons. However, I suppose I can understand that the prose in WD is one of the reasons it won, as Dr. Stearns mentioned. It is beautifully written, but I wouldn’t say it is one of my favorite books by any means. I thought it was a little slow at the get-go and for the most part, very predictable. I can’t decide on the ending either, as it was very unrealistic from my point of view….but I am also glad that Sym survived…so I don’t exactly know where I stand on the concluding chapter. On the other hand, I got to vicariously experience a place that I will most likely never visit, and I think this is a solid reason that this texts can appeal to teens…sort of like escapism. Basically being snowed in, I can appreciate many of the magnificient details about the snow and ice. I also received geographical and historical lessons repeatedly throughout the book that I would have never encountered otherwise. And, although I predicted that Uncle Victor was shady, there were still a few surprises. Sym certainly had a coming of age/ loss of innocence experience and a journey resulting in personal growth. So while I personally did not love this book, (it was outside of my comfort zone for sure!) it does have a lot of potential to be used with teens. And, I am glad that I checked it out, being an award winner and all.




  1. Mandy, thank you for continuing to push outside your comfort zone. I AM noticing as others do so as well. Your response is interesting. There’s been a great deal of listserv discussion of the novel. If I see a particularly provocative post on it again, I’ll forward it to you. KES

    Comment by sunyprof — March 2, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing, Mandy. I enjoyed hearing your initial impressions of The White Darkness in book club. Good to hear your thoughts upon completing it.

    You have read so many books this semester, as Karen points out, both in and out of your comfort zone. Do you think your comfort zone has changed? Which have been your favorites?


    Comment by sostrom — March 3, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  3. Mandy,
    I agreed with many of the points you brought up about the White Darkness. I liked it, but didn’t love it either. I’m still trying to figure out why exactly it won the Printz, as there are many other books that I found equally beautifully written and a little more engaging. As you said, I also found much of the plot predictable-such as Uncle Victor. However, I was surprised by just how insane he really was.

    I had not conciously thought about the idea of escapism. It is a very vivid look at the arctic, where I have absolutely no intention of ever visiting. However, the way it is written makes it seem like a great place, or beautiful at the least. Maybe that played a role in it winning the award.

    At the beginning of the week I lent my copy of WD to one of my avid readers. I told her I want to hear a what one of my kids thinks about it. She was eager to read it, and I am eager to hear her response!

    Comment by katefrazer — March 5, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

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