Jason Reynold’s Long Way Down

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This was a book I knew I needed to be in the right place emotionally to read. Which I did, at last, yesterday.

And I thought it magnificent.

While I’ve read and admired other works by Reynolds, this may well be my favorite to date. The man has a way with language that is remarkable. Structured as a series of experiences/encounters/events for fifteen year old Will as he heads down in an elevator to take revenge on his brother’s killer, Long Way Down is powerful, gut-wrenching, and, all and all, extraordinary. Reynolds weaves together what happened, what is going through Will’s mind and his body, glimpses of the pain of others (notably his mother), layering who Will is within his progression down and engagements with a series of people from the past, some close to him, all connected to him somehow. The sensory details are blowing in your face, literally as many of the visitors are smoking, but vividly and viscerally throughout. The boy’s fear, anger, confusion, and pain are communicated in a myriad of ways, obvious and not. Reynolds plays with words in so many ways — with titles, with placement on the page, with anagrams (and these were so perfect and that isn’t always the case when writers try to do them), and far more.

This has definitely shot to the top of my list of favorites of the year.

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One response to “Jason Reynold’s Long Way Down

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on Newbery: My Wishes for This Year | educating alice

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