This is one of those books that will make you fall in love with words and reading all over again. Life can be cruel and stressful at times, and sometimes it is books like this that can help you unwind and transport you to your innocent childhood state of mind when trees had names and clouds looked like a picture book along which you could narrate your own made-up stories. The story of ‘Saving Wonder’ by E. Mary Knight unfolds in the picturesque ‘Wonder Gap’ overlooking the beautiful Appalachian mountains of Kentucky, where Curley and his grandfather live.
Saving Wonder (Review)
Curly lost his father to a coal mining accident when he was just a little boy. After four years, his mom and baby brother Zeb were also engulfed by a sludge river caused by another coal company accident. Pawpaw and Curley were given monetary compensation every month on which their livelihood in wonder Gap depended since there was not much work other than mining to be found in the area.
Pawpaw gives Curley a new word each week to learn and find ways to use it in his day to day life; he often says to Curley that words are his only way out of the holler. But Curley loves the mountains and is secretly in love with his childhood best friend, Jules. If he could control his destiny, then Curley would never want to move anywhere away from his mountain. Jules and Curly have a special bonding spot, a tree they have named Ol’ Charley after a horse. Together they sit on this tree, gaze at their mountain, and wonder. They wonder about everything, from their bond to the beauty surrounding them.
The two of them are so well versed in each other’s minds that they sit on their tree for hours and share a synced silence. This all changes when the coal company’s management changes hands. The new boss’s son is the new good-bad boy in town, and Jules has a crush on him. Curley’s life is turned upside down when he slowly looses his best friend to her now-boyfriend JD. The only constant in his life now is his mountain and his Pawpaw.
He has a hard time accepting this and JD as his new forced friend. This is when through a school project, the dark outcomes of the coal company’s proceedings come to Curley’s attention, and on further digging, he finds out that his mountain is in danger. The top of the mountain will eventually be diminished by Big coal in addition to the deforestation of a large area, which includes Ol’ Charley."I found myself on an adventure and ended up stumbling upon the remains of the childlike girl at the core of a twenty-something woman." Click To Tweet
Curley wants to save his mountain and, more than anything else, save his wonder. Not just his home town Wonder Gap but the wonder that is his mountains, the wonder that he and Jules share up on Ol’ Charley when they gaze at the mountain tops. But speaking up against Big Coal means losing their life support in wonder gap and having to move away for a livelihood. This mystical story is all about whether a little boy chooses to start a revolution by standing tall against the powerful or quietly lose his spirit and give away his wonder.
This may not be a much intense plot effect mystery novel, but this book holds such power to preserve the reader’s longing for their fast fleeting innocence, their wonder. For the duration of the read, my mind became a simpler place. I found myself on an adventure and ended up stumbling upon the remains of the childlike girl at the core of a twenty-something woman. Apart from being enjoyable, this book also sends out an important message that a lot of us can relate to in our way of leading life.
Not falling into the conventional categories laid out by society and holding on to our true self in the rushing waves of everyday life. I would highly recommend this book to every fellow wanderer.