Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Book Review - The Landing by John Ibbitson

Charming and inspiring

The first thing about The Landing that caught my attention was its pricing. This is the only book that I’ve noticed costs the same in US dollars as it does in Canadian. Whether this is due to my not paying enough attention to the pricing of previous reads, or if this is just something obscure, I don’t know, but it was definitely cause for a little shock.

My introduction to this young-adult novel was through The Toronto Star, announcing that it had won the 2008 Governor General's Award for children's literature. I was often reminded about it at work, as it was included on one of our showcase tables for some months, but I hadn’t had the occasion to hear any personal reviews for it. None the less, as I am a fan of all things Canadian, I put a hold on it at the library, and picked it up.

The first quarter of the book, I must admit, did seem a little slow to start, and I found myself wondering how it could possibly keep a teenager interested, if I was struggling. As it continued I started to become a victim of its charms, and grew fond of the young Ben and his determination towards learning the violin. As I often do, I played all of the referenced music on my computer whilst reading the passages, to try and obtain the true essence of the character's situation. This proved to be helpful in determing the tone of various scenes, and I would recommend other readers do the same if they have that option.

Set in the years following the depression, Ibbitson descriptively illustrates the hardships associated with those harsh times. The relationship that Ben forges with a neighbouring socialite is both painful and inspiring, as he dreams of one day leaving The Landing in Muskoka. As is often the case with growing up in a rural area, he is torn between his obligation to his struggling family and persuring his dreams.

The last few chapters will have you on the edge of your seat, as the novel takes an unexpected turn at its climax. Slow start and all, I am hopeful that Ibbitson will have a vision for a sequel.

4/5 Snakes


  1. IS the book GOOD?

  2. hate it jk good!!!! :D

  3. What is the twist at the end of the book ??? :D

  4. whats bens mothers name ??

    1. I just finished the book and I was suprised by how good it was due to the fact that it started off really slow but suddenly twisted. I recommend it