Friday, January 7, 2011

Return to the Classics

I am making a real effort to reread some of the classic young adult books from my childhood. I go into this knowing that things are very different when they are interpreted as an adult (see my post on the IMAX theater experience!)

I picked up Scott O'Dell's Black Pearl because I had remembered how much I liked him as an author - who can forget Island of the Blue Dolphins? Of course this was a very quick read, and one that really does keep you guessing - the underlying message of not being greedy rings through as it did when I read it as a child.

Ramon, the main character is young, naive, and impressionable. He is dying to become a man, and find the giant pearl that will impress everyone. He does this, but not honorably and he will pay the ultimate price, or at least he is told he will.

One of the major players is the Manta Diablo, the sea monster that will get his revenge for the pearl. I know this sounds crazy, but I was left wondering what a "manta" is and I know if I am wondering this as an adult, I must not have known as a child! My best guess was a killer whale (just from the descriptions in the book), but I did eventually find out that this refers to a manta ray (which should have seem obvious from the beginning.)

What a great novel, a classic. The young boy makes the right choice and so the manta decides to punish his greedy counter-part Sevillano. The other main character, the BLACK PEARL, is interesting as well - readers are left wondering what a pearl like that looks like.

Classic read, definitely worth the do-over!

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