Hiromi Goto Half World. New York: Penguin Group. 2009.
Audience: Ages 13-18
Summary: Melanie is in shock when her mother mysteriously leaves her one day. After getting a call from Mr. Glueskin, Melanie embarks on a life altering journey. The Realm of Flesh, the Realm of Spirit, and Half World have all been pulled apart and locked into isolation. Melanie sets on this mission to try and save her mother and create balance between all the realms.
Read Aloud: Half World
Themes: One theme I would suggest is conquering fear. Melanie, scared to death, never showed it to Mr. Glueskin. He tried to bring her down in every which way possible, and she never broke. I believe Melanie really grew a lot when entering Half World. Although, I think she was kind of forced to with everything she was seeing. A lot of the times her defense would be to run. But, after a while she stopped and faced the fear.
Another theme would be love. Melanie would of never entered Half World if she did not love her mother. I thought it was kind of bogus that the mother never said anything to Melanie about Half World. But, maybe she just thought it would have been better for Melanie to of never known about the place. At the end of the book Fumiko, Melanie’s mother, expresses her love and appreciation towards her daughter. You really can tell how sorry Fumiko is that she cannot return to the realm of flesh with her. She tells her daughter how much she really loves her. And, for Melanie in the first place to even risk her life to come find Fumiko; that was an act of love as well.
Lastly, compassion would be an excellent theme. Throughout the novel different characters helped assist Melanie; even if she was being a little tough to deal with. A raccoon gave her a gift that came very handy later in the journey. Jade Rat bit off his own finger for her; Fumiko did the same. Gao Zhen Xi had assisted Melanie in so many ways and showed so much sympathy for her along the way. Ms. Wei openly took Melanie in whenever, wherever; fed, bathed, and clothed her. Even when the realm was in shambles, so many people helped and showed support for Melanie.
Connections: The one connection I made was when Ms. Wei stated on page 216 that ‘how she stopped evil, without doing evil herself’. That was significant because my mother always told me to feed evil with love. And, that always works best- to just be kind to someone. Melanie did not use violence as a way to balance the realms.
The other connection I made was that I would do exactly what Melanie did with this journey. If someone I dearly loved was in trouble like this, I would go to the ends of the earth for them; even if it did entail risking my own life.
Reactions: Honestly, I did not like the book one bit. I hate fantasy books. So, it really was a struggle to get through. I felt like the book was almost like a baby kind of fiction. I just kept thinking of Disney’s version of Hercules. I pictured Mr. Glueskin as the guy in Hercules who is against him and has the blue fire as hair. The book was too much for me with fantasy. Although, I think this was a good book to pick out for fantasy because I do not know if I could handle much more of it. I know there are far more in depth books entailing all the mythical creatures and what not. The one thing I did like about this book is the main story line; how she was going to find her mother. In the class text book it talked about fantasies; saying that the books always had some sort of journey to accomplish. It also stated that in the end usually the main character is the hero. So, that definitely was the case in this book. I think this is a wonderful book for people who enjoy reading fantasy; I personally hated it.
Reception: James Grainger talks briefly about the book; He even brings in a little spiritual views into the text
Half World Review If you go down a ways in this discussion you can find many peoples’ reviews about the book. If you look at K. Bird, she stated that the story was very satisfying but somewhat predictable. I would agree on this statement as well.