(We're back! And, with regular reviews, I promise.)
The accidental murder of Henry's brother shocks the town of Blythbury-by-the-Sea, especially as it was done by one of them. Chay Chouan is the accused murderer-and a Cambodian immigrant. As the already barely manageable racial tensions elevate, Henry finds himself caught between conflicting ideas. So, he decides to climb Mt. Katahdin , as he had planned with his brother before his death, hoping that it will solve his confusion. But, he's planning on going up alone. Fortunately for him, his best friend, Sanborn and the recently-adopted stray, Black Dog (in case you're wondering, yes, it's a dog, and yes, it's black-originality, right?) come along with him. What he hadn't bargained for is the company of the very same man who seems to have caused all the trouble-Chay Chouan.
Trouble is a beautiful book-in writing, in story and in characters. Gary D. Schmidt wove a truly seamless tale of growing up, and with so much skill that it all seemed effortless. The story, itself, is realistic and unsentimental yet completely captivating. Although the book covers the serious issues such as racism and loss-and does so with originality and depth- it also possesses a huge amount of humour. There were many, many moments when this book had me laughing out loud especially at the interactions between Henry and his best friend, which seemed so true of all good friendships. Schmidt easily juggles the multiple plots and characters. And, despite the complexity of the story, the characters never lose out, each of them seeming fully real. Henry's growth throughout the book, in particular, was very believable. As the story proceeds, Henry is not only forced to deal with the death of his brother but also confront the idealized image he had of him.
This was my second time rereading Trouble and yet, it remains one of the most satisfying books I have ever read.