Monday, June 21, 2010

Kaleidoscope Eyes

Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jen Bryant is the second novel in verse I've read in the past week. I was trying to explain to my daughter, who was quite interested in the layout as she was paging through it, how very interesting these books are. While it may seem easier to compose a story with so few words, my thoughts after reading Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards just a few days ago and Kaleidoscope Eyes by Jen Bryant today, is that writing a story with so few words may actually be more difficult. Each phrase conveys so much. Writing up a short summary of these books has left me feeling as though I cannot clearly communicate the many facets of either story adequately.
Kaleidoscope Eyes is set during the Vietnam War.
The cast of characters includes:
Lyza, who is a teenager coping with her mother's absence, trying to grow up. Her grandfather passes away, leaving an envelope only for her. The information in the envelope leads her and her friends on the hunt for a buried treasure that Captain Kidd, a pirate, buried near her New Jersey town.
Denise - Lyza's sister, is busy dating Hairy Harry, a long-haired war protester, and listening to Janice Joplin. The sisters are often at odds, and Denise is truly a vision of sixties pop culture.
Their father is a professor at a local college, working long hours to repay the debts their mother accumulated before deserting her family. While he is against the war, he is quiet about his feelings in order to keep his job.
Malcolm, Lyza's good friend, is an African American male, whose brother, Dexter, gets drafted to go to war. Both acknowledge that his race may put him where the worst fighting is taking place. The issue of race are evident when Malcolm cannot find a job because he is black and he has never been seated at the restaurant where Denise works.
Carolann, Lyza's best girlfriend is instrumental to the location of Captain Kidd's treasure as is Malcolm.
Bryant does an amazing job of weaving in the feelings present in the sixties - the fear and anger about Vietnam, the sadness of those who fought in Vietnam and returned changed forever, the way in which music and entertainers influenced the teens of this decade. Even Bryant's title, Kaleidoscope Eyes, originates from the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
This book was fabulous and I will highly recommend this for teen readers.
Kaleidoscope Eyes was read for the War Through the Generations Challenge


Josette said...

I love the cover! I'm interested in books that have a historical setting and I haven't read much fiction on the Vietnam War. Will check out this book. :)

Nora said...

This sounds brilliant :)
Love your review (and the pretty colours xD)

Anonymous said...

"Lucy" is one of my favorite Beatles' songs. ;)

I'll have to keep this one in mind for the challenge. We'll get your review on War Through the Generations soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Don't know if you've seen it already, but we posted about your review here.