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Another Kind of Hurricane: 08/10/16

Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith

Another Kind of Hurricane by Tamara Ellis Smith is set in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the north is a boy who has lost his best friend to an unexpected death. In the south is a boy who has been displaced by the hurricane. A pair of jeans and a marble bring the two boys together.

Here the hurricane is basically window dressing. Essentially it's another MacGuffin story (something I'd mentioned not seeing much of in children's literature but is apparently becoming more of a thing). Here the MacGuffin is the marble tucked away in the donated pair of jeans.

The MacGuffin is something that must be followed. Usually the plot leaves the living protagonist behind and follows the thing instead as it goes from place to place. Here, though, the MacGuffin is something that compels the northern protagonist south to find the marble.

Anyone in contact with the MacGuffin will invariably cross paths, though again, they don't always realize that they have or even make the connection to the thing they have all been affected by. Again, that's subverted here in that both boys want the marble and become friends over the wanting of the marble.

So why a MacGuffin story? Well, the title gives the answer. Another kind of hurricane doesn't refer to the destructive forces of nature but to the emotional rollercoaster of grief. As we often remember our beloved ones through their possessions, that marble becomes a tangible reminder of the friendship that's been torn asunder by death. It's also the means for forging a new friendship.

Three stars

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