Tuesday, December 8, 2009

POV Experiments-- "Schooled" by Gordan Korman

I picked up "Schooled" off a library reshelving cart and was intrigued by it's bright yellow cover complete with a large peace sign and a school bus. The inside cover description was appealing so I checked it out. I read it yesterday and wanted to share the unique twist on the story. Here's part of the summary on the book:

"Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television. He's never tasted a pizza. Never even heard of a wedgie. Since he was little, his only experience has been living on a farm commune and being homeschooled by his hipped grandmother, Rain.

"But when Rain falls out of a tree while picking plums and has to stay in the hospital, Cap is forced ot move in with a guidance counselor and her cranky teen daughter, and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of the public school.

"Right from the beginning, Cap's weirdness makes him a moving target at Claverage Middle School (dubbed C Average by the students). He has long, ungroomed hair; wears hemp clothes; and practices tai chi on the lawn...."

The first chapter is told from the perspective of Cap himself and you see what he's thinking and feeling as he takes care of his grandmother immediately after her fall. The second chapter is from the POV (point of view) of the guidance counselor who takes him in; the third from the school big man who targets Cap as the 8th grade whipping boy; the fourth from Cap again. Throughout the entire book, the POV shifts from person to person all the while centering around Cap and how the school views him and his antics. By the time you get to the climax point, you know Cap better than you might have if you had only ever saw him through his own eyes.

The more I read this book, the more drawn I became to all of the characters. It was like watching an exciting sports game and rotating spots every few minutes so I could get a different perspective on the action. I loved it! I will admit that I was disappointed by the ending. It seemed to cut short this well-woven story, like finishing off a rug with some staplers or duct tape! But I loved the idea of switching back and forth between the first person perspective for each charcter. Gordan Korman pulled it off really well.

So how can this apply to you? Do you have a spot in your story that seems to be stuck or be excessively ridgid? Try writing the scene through the eyes of another character, whether major or minor. Hopefully it will give you new insight as to what's going on in the scene in a more three dimensional way. If you are trying to decide how to construct a novel out of an idea in your head or scratched out on paper, consider a different approach to the POV.

And, of course, to read a good example of alternating POVs, pick up "Schooled" by Gordan Korman. I highly recommend it, despite the weird ending!

1 comment:

Shauna said...

Schooled is one of the books on my kids' Fiction Diggers! list this year, and they, too, love it. One of our teachers who is in her mid forties cannot get into it because of the hippie thing, but the kids are spellbound and love the witty dialog.

Have you read Korman's Swindle, or its sequel, Zoobreak? They are cute too! Shauna