Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti

I’m going to come forward right away and admit that I didn’t finish this book. And at this point I’m not planning to. I tried. I even preach to my students that sometimes the greatest rewards come from the books you least want to finish, but I just couldn’t get excited about this one. I even broke another personal rule in my attempt. I looked ahead. I had to! I wanted to see if there was any change in the life-is-so-hard-now-that-I-have-two-and-half-million-dollars attitude. Fifty pages…still there. A hundred pages…still there.

Everything about the story makes sense. Rich guy wants to free himself of the burdens of millions of dollars so he begins giving the money away. Waitress receives $2.5 million tip and inherits the burdens the rich guy was trying to escape. Boyfriend starts spending “their” money. Mom resists a new house, claiming she’d rather have her pride. Younger sister set on saving the world is cleansed of her benevolence by a good washing of materialism. Brother dating rich girlfriend thinks money will make him more acceptable to the girl. (Okay, I don’t know that one happens since I quit reading. But it sounds right.) Divorced father is the only one who sees that Indigo’s plan to just “be me with more money” might not work out but doesn’t do much about it. Coworkers assume she’ll quit her job.

I know how to solve all of this! Of course I do! Don’t we all? Don’t we all presume to know exactly how to handle a sudden $2.5 million windfall? Who among us wouldn’t at least welcome the challenge?

Maybe that’s what frustrated me. If Indigo had immediately gone to a financial advisor and, after purchasing a comfortable yet modest house, placed the money into a trust (or whatever kind of financial fund thingy) where the interest was used to pay the three kids’ college tuition, I would have been much less frustrated, but the book would have been much more boring. It’s probably great for all teenage million dollar dreamers to read so they can see that, while money can solve certain problems, it can create a whole new unforeseen set of problems.

I have no doubt others will like The Fortunes of Indigo Skye. I’m going to ask some former students (and you know who you are out there) to read it and give me their opinions. There’s a good chance – and I’m willing to admit it up front – that: A. I’m letting my personal tastes cloud my judgment, B. I’m out of touch with older readers, C. I simply missed the boat on this one, or D. All of the above to varying degrees.

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