The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Target audience: Middle grade
Keywords: family, parents, children
Format read: ARC provided from LitLush! (Thanks!)
Summary: When John and Marta find a young boy on their porch, they do the only thing they can think of: take care of him. But what will happen when his family retrieves him?
Sharon Creech has been one of my favorite authors since my reading of Walk Two Moons in grade school. That book can still pull on my heartstrings, so many years later.
The Boy on the Porch doesn’t have the same kind of development (I read it in a few hours) but it is still so effective. Creech weaves a simple story about a couple who unofficially adopts a young boy they find on their porch. There is a note on him, assuring the couple someone would be returning for the boy soon. Not knowing when “soon” will be, John and Marta fold Jacob into their home (plus their dog loves him too).
Jacob doesn’t talk at all so Marta and John have to dig deep to make him feel comfortable and get to know him. You know what I found the most charming? Their apprehension when it came to being parents. They didn’t know how to do anything, and I loved seeing a bit of John’s self-consciousness and watching him see his wife be a mom. It’s such a miraculous thing, and as close as they get to Jacob, readers watch their relationship grow because of their new roles. It’s so unbelievably sweet.
In the back of their minds, they wonder what will happen when Jacob is no longer staying with them. That is the hardest part of all. John and Marta are two wonderful, selfless people who instinctively care for a complete stranger. The risks of their own heartbreak surely take a backseat to Jacob’s well-being. It is so commendable.
Like John and Marta, my wonderful blog partner Magan and her husband welcomed an energetic and happy child into their home for the past few months, making her a part of their own family unit and their extended family. Their commitment to their foster daughter is so inspiring, and I couldn’t help but think of them so many times during my reading of The Boy on the Porch. The array of emotions felt so true to many conversations Magan and I have had since we met. I instantly wanted her to read this book.
With super short chapters and succinct writing, Creech’s newest felt like a fable about unconventional families, the fears and the triumphs associated with being a parent, and how a familial love can grow between strangers and create an unbreakable bond. Definitely a great read to check out on your own, or share with your family.