Entry No.1 - Why this book?!
I want to begin with an answer to this question. In order to decide, which book I wanted to read I read the blurbs of the different recommended novels. Due to this five books were no longer on the list. Furthermore I already read one of the books befor - "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" - so I knew I would not be able to write a proper reading diary about it as well as I would have felt like a cheater.
Thus there were just two books left:
"The Face on the Milk Carton" & "The Lost Boys' Appretiation Society"
I ordered both and Cooney's book arrived first. I knew the book was quite famous, because I had already heard of it myself and with this I started reading...
As the audience does know by now I read the blurb first, this is my attempt to write one:
The book is about a girl, Janie, who one day sees a foto of one of the lost children on a milk carton in school. It occurs to her that she is that girl, because she seems to remember the dress and the day she wore it, but at the same time she does not want to believe it, because her parents love her and she lives in a caring family, which does not fit the image of kidnappers. Know she has to try to re-organize her life and to find out what really happened and where she belongs.
What is special about this book?
I just started reading "The Face on the Milk Carton", but I already noticed some striking features about the style in which the book is written, especially about the choice of words and the perspective, but also about the introduction of the characters.
I was impressed by the way Cooney describes the thoughts and emotions of the teenage girl. She has high knowledge about the themes that are important of a person that is growing up:
"She had gradually changed her name. 'Jane' was too dull. Last year she'd added a 'y', becoming Jayne, which had more personality and was sexier. To her last name - Johnson - she'd added a 't', and later an 'e' at the end, so now she was Jayne Johnstone. [...] Why, with the last name Johnson (hardly a name at all; more like a page out of the phone book) had her parents chosen 'Jane'?" (Cooney 1990, 2f.)
"[...] her own future family. She couldn't picture her husband-to-be, but she could see her children perfectly: two beautiful little girls, and she would name them Denim and Lace." (Cooney 1990, 4)In the first chapter there is the typical introduction of the characters, as well as the start of the plot. Until now the book semms to have a third person narrator, which is personal with an internal focalization, because the story is told out of Janie's perspective moreover, her emotions and thoughts are described. Still there are no narrations of the inner life of the other characters.
Nevertheless one of the striking features is that Janie is drawn as a character that is very sensible for the feelings of other characters. With a lot of empathy she understands Reese's emotions regarding his family situation and his malfunction in school.
The whole style is very emotional, which helps to find a way into the story and creates an atmosphere of closeness to Janie's fate.
In a literature class this produces the right setting for communication about the topic and exercises in which the students should find hints or guess, how the story will proceed.