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Thoughts upon finishing Stygo by Laurie Hendrie

  • Depending on chapter, it mixes 3rd person and 1st person narrators. The 3rd person sections, especially, have noticeable “you”s that stand out because of the seeming inconsistency of the perspective. However, the “you”s work colloquially to boost the voice of the town.
  • The language throughout the book is very colloquial, particularly in the metaphors people use. For instance, the narrator says, “you couldn’t get there if you didn’t own wheels,” rather than if you didn’t own a car (Hendrie 3).
  • Trouble is on every page. The first page of the book has, “it seemed to Lizzy that, with the exception of the rattler scare, the first year of her marriage to Jake Loper was passing just as smoothly as every other year of her life had,” (Hendrie 3).
  • The story sucks you in with the language and quirky characters.
  • Each chapter ends with nothing much seeming to have happened, yet the characters have clearly changed. One event in the story changes the speaker or lets out the events of the past. (Ex. Frank and Willa Moon)
  • The narrators are unreliable. (Ex. Billy claims he is not grieving the death of his twin brother, yet that is exactly what he does the whole story.)
  • There is a full picture of the town when the book is finished. Readers see everyone wanting to leave the town and everyone staying put in the end.
  • The employment record at the end of the book listing all the characters was helpful for explaining who’s who and where everyone ended up. It perhaps could have gone at the beginning for clarity (particularly for the ages, as many have characteristics that separate the tone of voice from the actual age of the speaker,) but Lizzy’s introduction of everyone in the first chapter sets up the discomfort that Frank resolves in the last chapter, as well as the conflict and characters for all of the stories in between.
  • There is a theme of danger tied to trying to get out of the town. There is also a motif of things being coated (by sugar dust, bugs, etc.)

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