What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day became night and night became day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on a family and a young girl, who is already coping with the normal disasters of everyday life? One seemingly ordinary Saturday morning in a California suburb, Julia and her parents wake to discover that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. No one knows why, no one knows how to deal with it. The enormity of this change is almost beyond comprehension.
Told through Julia’s eyes, this beautiful and original novel shows how easily life can fragment, within a family, within a community, and on a far wider plane, when the rhythm of life as we know it is knocked so unexpectedly out of kilter.
When I decided to take on the Richard and Judy summer 2013 reading challenge I was absolutely delighted when I saw this book was one of their choices. I read this once last year and finished it cover to cover in a day. This is the authors first novel and when I read it the first time around, it wasn’t very well-known. This book deserves to be read and now thanks to the Richard and Judy challenge it will be and I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did. This unique and fascinating story is told through the eyes of Julia, an 11 year old girl who lives a very ordinary life until what they would later call, ‘The Slowing’, occurs. ‘The Slowing’ is what scientists call this phenomenon. The earth’s rotation is gradually getting slower and slower. Crop begin to die, illness starts to occur and society begins to break down and as the minutes bleed into hours and hours into days it slowly but significantly changes everyone’s lives, including Julia’s, forever.
I praise the author for writing such a touching and somehow, realistic novel. It’s one thing to make up entirely new worlds altogether but being able to stray so far from the norm like this book does is extraordinary and a great amount of thought and imagination that must of gone in to successfully changing something we are so familiar with and take so much for granted. It really does send your imagination wild and I think the reason I found this book such a interesting read is because we’re always looking for something new and exciting to happen and this book delivers just that. In a seemingly normal world, full of normal problems, this huge change occurs that changes everything and everyone and it’s so exciting trying to imagine living and adjusting like the characters do in the book. I also like how this book is told from the point of view of someone who has already lived through what she’s telling. The way she refers to things that have yet to happen is intriguing and it gives you a sense of hope for the characters that you grow to love. Julia has all the worries an 11 year-old girl should have. Not fitting in at school, liking a boy for the first time, problems at home and losing friends. Take out ‘The Slowing’ and you’re left with a series of unfortunate but very realistic events but Julia mentions in the book that she doesn’t know if what happened to her family was due to ‘The Slowing’ or not. Which I think is one of the main points of the story. If ‘The Slowing’ had never happened – how would life have panned out?
I love the concept of this story and it’s honestly unlike anything I’ve read before. Many critics have mentioned the fact that the author is inconsistent and lacks scientific knowledge but to me, I really don’t think that matters. The story is written by an 11 year-old girl, the fact that she has no scientific knowledge, other than what she hears on the TV, is what I think makes the book so successful – the element of the unknown. I admire how the author has managed to create this wonderful catastrophe but at the same time capture all the problems of life that will soon feel insignificant compared to the main problem at hand. Although I, as a reader, could not comprehend life as they experience is, I can relate to some of the smaller worries Julia and her family have to deal with. This is not only a story of a dramatic change in the world we live but a story of friendship, family, young love and the incredible strength of humankind.