When I Read: MC Higgins the Great

It's after 11:00 PM. I am finally back home for the day, and am racing against the clock for a piece for today. You would think I'd use one of these pieces that I have saved up, but noooo I'm racking my head for something fresh.  To combat this problem, I started scrolling through vanity dark.blogspot.com to see posts that I previously did. I forgot I read once.

When I  Read: MC Higgins the Great

Sitting on a floor next to my bed since the beginning of summer has been a copy of Virginia Hamilton's MC Higgins the Great. Somewhere in my mind I thought  I would re-read this childhood favorite this summer. Everything about this book evokes the idea of summer cool from the cover artwork to the opening description of Mayo Cornelius Higgins running out in to the morning air to enjoy the day before it was interrupted.

Despite its similarity in name to Super Fudge, this book is anything but. While the Fudge books are entertaining, Higgins entertains and pushes complex and deep thought. At first there is the obvious coming of age story.Coming of age stories are often remarkable for an extreme and drastic change. Richard Wright's Rite of Passage, which I read probably one or two summers after Higgins grips you with suspense and has you racing with the changes. Higgins quietly guides you through a few days of one boy's life in which any reader can identify with his dreams and hopes, appreciate the development of his questioning attitude, and understand the tensions between the known and unknown worlds.

Outside of the movement into a new way of thinking, Higgins is also remarkable for exposing the reader to the world of the Ohio valley. The time period (written in the 70s, most likely set prior) may have a great deal to do with the ideologies of the town people. The lifestyles lived around myths and legends are  mystical, leaving the reader completely intrigued by the way of life and making MC's choices resonate that much more.

There's something compelling about work like this: a book that pulls you back even though you yourself have moved past the stage of life where it would be deemed useful. It's good writing.


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