Thursday, December 20, 2018
Review: Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
And because of that I'm giving this book two stars. Which makes me so sad, but it has to be done. I had so many issues with this one. Yet I also enjoyed some of it a whole lot. I have so much to share about it. First, a huge thank you to the publisher for letting me take part in the blog tour and for sending me the lovely book.
While my blog tour in late January was supposed to be a review and a giveaway, I do not feel okay with sharing a two star review for a blog tour. Will be posting my review today, and will hopefully be sharing a spotlight and giveaway of an ARC post in January. I truly wish I could say that I loved this book. As I really wanted to. It seemed incredible. And looks truly gorgeous. But it was sadly filled with issues. I will start by saying that I have no idea if any of the deaf part of the book had issues as well, as I do not know anyone that is deaf. I will say that I found all of it to be written really well. I loved that the main girl was deaf. I loved reading about how she lived every day as a deaf person. Was so very interesting. And she was all kinds of awesome because of that. Love.
But sadly that did not save this book. Because even though the deaf parts were incredible, the rest of the writing was so very much not. I could not connect to anything in this book. It also felt so rushed. And a bit awkward at times. Especially so because Iris is said to be twelve years old, but yet she felt years younger than that. Which was a bit depressing. I also did not like this girl. Because of her personality. She treated a girl in her class so very badly. And not once was that owned up to. It bothered me so much, at all times.
Sure, it is written in a way that makes it seem like the girl in her class was an idiot, and doing everything wrong. But she was not. She was a girl who could hear. And who tried so hard to learn sign language so that she could talk to Iris too. But Iris did nothing to help her with this. All she did was turn away from her and ignore her and get angry with her for not being able to sign anything right. I felt like Iris should have helped her. Should have tried to be her friend, like this girl was trying so so very hard to be hers. Hmph.
Which means that sadly I did not like Iris very much at all. I tried to love her, I truly did. But yeah. No. She treated this girl badly in the beginning of the book. And then near the end she reads something about her, and she laughs and laughs at her, and it made me dislike Iris more and more. Was not good. Sure, there were parts of Iris that I liked. Getting to know how she talked with sign language was awesome. So loved her friendship with this adorable boy that was deaf as well. It was pretty adorable. But was sadly too little.
This book is about Iris being unhappy in her school. Since she is the only one there that is deaf. And her grandparents are deaf too, but her grandpa is dead and her grandma lives at a home for old people. Her mom can sign language too, and her brother as well. Her father was not good at it. And that was written badly too, because it was all kinds of painful to read about, and it really shouldn't have been written that way, at least, I do not think it should have. Parts of Iris's life was hard to read, which was bad and good.
While at school, she learns about a whale. Blue 55. He has a different song than every other whale in the ocean, and so no one can understand him. He is all alone and has no one around him. This is somewhat a true story, and I did like that a whole lot. It was interesting to read about the whales and such. But also a little weird. There are even really small pages with the whale point of view. Yeah. That was odd. And the way Iris reacted to learning about the whale. Yeah. I cannot support that. Not at all. Which is depressing.
I did love that Iris felt strongly about this whale. That she wanted to help him connect with others. Liked that she decided to make a song for him that he could hear, that no other whale could sing for him. But what I did not like is that she got obsessed with this whale right away and decided that she had to go to Alaska to find him, to see him. Did not like how she treated her family because of this. And then she runs away. With her grandmother. On a cruise ship, for weeks, without telling her family first. Uhm. What even.
I cannot help but say that I found this book to be a bit problematic. If that is the right word. It might not be, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. This book makes it feel it was okay that twelve year old deaf Iris ran away with her old and deaf grandmother, who was grieving for her dead husband, and was in a home because they feared she could not take care of herself. Yeah. And they run away together. That was not safe. And it was not okay. Sure, Iris thinks about her family a couple of times while being away. Hahaha.
That was not okay either. She is on a cruise for Alaska, far away from her family, without talking to them or telling them where she is going or why. Her grandma is keeping them updated, but that was still not an okay thing to do. Yet this book tells it in a way that it felt okay, that it was the right thing for Iris to do. That it was the only thing she could have done, the thing she was supposed to do. I do not support that at all. It was reckless and dangerous. Gosh, my review is much longer than I had planned for it to be. Sorry, haha.
But can't stop writing about this book. I must share all my thoughts. Some spoilers. There is even a scene in the book where Iris jumps into cold water and swims toward a huge whale. Looking it in the eyes. And swimming around it. Not once is it mentioned that this is dangerous. And it was. Incredibly so. And I'm not sure why this book is making it seem like all of this was okay. Hmm. Can't help but feel that this book was not all that safe. Of course, it is highly possible that I am the only one to feel this way, that others will not.
Which is also okay. I'm sorry to say that Song for a Whale was not a book for me at all. I wanted to love it, so so badly, but I could not. I found parts of it to be very good, and I wanted to know more. But most parts where not good at all. And I may have shared way too much in my review. But I just could not stop writing and I do not regret it. So curious to know what others will think of this book. Do let me know if you read it. Huge thank you to Random House Kids for sending me a free ARC copy of this book to read and review.