young adult

Ron’s #48: Frenchtown Summer by Robert Cormier

Robert Cormier made me a reader.

When I was in 8th or 9th grade, I had to read Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War for school. Up until that time, I don’t remember reading much for fun. There was something about the story and characters that made me view reading differently. Jerry Renault was an outsider asking himself, “Do I dare disturb the universe?” and that spoke to me about the power of books. Since then, I’ve read most—not all—of Cormier’s books.

Frenchtown Summer tells of Eugene and his small town Frenchtown, a blue-collar New England town with familiar faces, ghosts, and isolation. The narrative describes this world through descriptive poetry, a vivid and memorable picture of 1960s innocence and coming-of-age. It is as powerful as Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street; in fact, this often felt a bit too similar to her story.

The was a good read, and another reminder of how one author introduced me to the joy of reading. I’m glad that Cormier disturbed my universe years ago.