Buy This Book
Other books you may enjoy
“When people get scared, they think the best way to deal with the problem is to go on the attack,” Mom. –The Story Web
The Story Web
by Megan Frazer Blakemore
When Alice was little, she found a gigantic spider web deep in the forest. Her dad called it the Story Web and told her how its strands were woven from the stories that hold our world together.
Years later, Alice’s dad has gone away for reasons Alice is sure are her fault. Now she won’t even talk about her dad—and definitely no longer believes his far-fetched stories. But when animals in town start acting strangely, she can’t ignore them. The Story Web is in danger—and the fabric of their world is breaking. The only way to mend it is to tell honest tales from the heart, even if they are difficult to share.
The Story Web tackles some heavy issues including friendship, hurtful rumors, and PTSD. The story focuses on Alice; however, the story is told from a third-person point of view and often shifts; it includes both human and animal points of view. The always-changing points of view break up the story’s action and may confuse some readers.
Although the story has an interesting premise, the storyline tries to do too much and lacks action. Alice’s father was in the military and has PTSD. Despite this, Alice feels like she is responsible for making her father go away. Throughout the story, Alice reads letters from her father that have many references to The Odyssey by Homer. Greek gods and the theme of the hero’s journey are also incorporated into the story. Readers who are unfamiliar with the Greek references will be confused. Readers may also have difficulties with the advanced vocabulary, such as precocity, coalition, and reprobate.
The story highlights the importance of teamwork and discusses what makes a person heroic. Alice thinks, “Some superheroes want to be heroes. Like Batman or Captain America. They make it happen. Other ones don’t really have a choice.” Alice learns that being a hero isn’t like in the movies, instead “it’s showing up, doing your job—that’s what makes a hero.” Despite the positive messages, The Story Web may be difficult for readers to slog through.
- There is a rumor that Melanie’s aunt is a witch. People say, “She’d cut off your toes and feed them to her birds. She’d cast a spell on you and turn you into a crow.”
- When a boy sees Lewis, he talks badly about Alice in order to start a fight. A boy tells Lewis, “Are you going to punch me? Go on, do it! I can’t believe wimpy Lewis Marble is actually going to punch someone!” An adult intervenes before anything happens.
- When the smoke alarm goes off, Alice’s father thinks he is back in the war. “He lunged toward her, grabbed her around the shoulder, and pulled her roughly to the floor. . . He pressed her into the floor. She felt the ridges of the linoleum on her cheek. ‘Dad,’ she said, struggling to breathe under the weight of his body.” When Alice’s father realizes what he did, he runs to his bedroom and locks the door.
- While in a crowded room, a man accidentally shoots a gun. “The gunshot reverberated round the old room. It rattled the metal folding chairs. It echoed off the huge lights that hung like bells above them. . . Mr. Sykes stared at the gun, mystified. . . He’d dropped it, and it went off. The bullet flew the length of the room just above the floor and left a small hole in the cinder-block wall.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Alice goes to a restaurant with her family and sees a man she knows. “Alan Sykes sat there, a golden-hued beer and a plate of cheese fries in front of him.”
- Alice goes to the hospital to see her father, who is taking medication. Alice’s mother tells her, “I’ve been talking to the doctors the whole time, honey. They are being careful. It can be hard to get the dosage right, but what they have now seems good. . . I know that meds that work on your personality can seem weird and scary, but some people really need them. Like you wouldn’t look down on someone for taking acetaminophen for a headache, right? These meds are the same.”
- “What the—” is used twice.
- “Oh my g—” is used once.
- A boy calls Alice “Dingaling.”
- Someone asks, “What kind of idiot would do that?”
- Darn is used once.
- Heck is used twice.
- The story revolves around the Story Web, which is created when “the people tell their stories out loud or on paper, and the spiders weave them into the web. We’re always making and remaking it. It’s a very fragile thing.” The spiders gather the stories, weave them, and “the strands lace together, crisscrossing one another to make the fabric that ties the whole world together.”
- Someone says that a true miracle is “when the supernatural world comes into the human world and helps out.”
- Alice’s father taught her that “the constellations were set in the sky by the Greek gods whose stories he loved to tell.” The gods and constellations are described.