Best of SNO

‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

By Sydney McCabe, Middletown HS South, Middletown, N.J.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Matt Greene’s near constant play on words, coupled with a surprisingly hilarious and unique approach to the woes of life as a teenager in the 21st century, give his first novel, “Ostrich,” all the makings of a classic. Through a stream of consciousness elaborated by parentheses, protagonist Alex examines everything from Schrodinger’s Cat and parallel universes to his parents’ divorce and why exactly ostriches feel so ostracized.

Alex is a complicated character who spends most of his time trying to understand the complexities of everyday life and learning new ways to earn top marks in Composition. In a refreshing twist, he’s plagued by memory lapses and seizures but treats his illness as a side story rather than the main focus of his life; instead of defining him, Alex’s brain tumor is just a small part of who he is and what makes him so intriguing.

Alex is a complicated character who spends most of his time trying to understand the complexities of everyday life and learning new ways to earn top marks in Composition.”

Although he is only 12, Alex displays a kind of maturity that makes it easy to forget he is a middle school-aged kid, especially when he reveals his sincere and heartbreaking insight: “Hope is not the thing with feathers. Hope is an anchor. [It’s] what keeps you from floating away. Despair is weightless.”

Alex’s candor and matter-of-fact nature resemble that of Holden Caulfield’s in “The Catcher in the Rye,” and his endearing curiosity is similar to the beloved Charlie’s from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Fans of these stories will surely love “Ostrich.”

However, the convoluted ending and sometimes frustrating syntax make the story somewhat difficult to digest. Matt Greene attempts to relate quantum physics to pop culture phenomena, which makes the topics easier to comprehend on the surface, yet he simultaneously suggests that even the simplest ideas can be examined on numerous levels.

“If you believe that a subatomic particle is in two places at once until it is observed, then you believe that the radioactive material both decays and doesn’t decay simultaneously, which means you believe that until you take the lid off the box to have a look, the cat is both alive and dead… In other words, it makes as much sense as Dad refusing to watch penalty shoot-outs in case he affects the outcome. Which is why most intelligent people now believe in Many Worlds.”

If you are willing and able to dedicate the time to an interesting read, then this book is worth it and more. But be forewarned: in a John Green-esque  style, “Ostrich” does not come without an emotional load  that creates a love/hate relationship between author and reader.

View original story

Navigate Left
  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Arts & Entertainment

    Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    Flynn searches for WWII veterans, plans to write book

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    Putting a ‘Face’ to a name: students use FaceTime to meet author

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    Weir blends humor with thrills in Martian

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    Fifty shades of abuse

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    The characters we deserve

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    Harper Lee to publish Mockingbird sequel

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    More than just a children’s book

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    Looking at the literature canon through a feminist lens

  • ‘Ostrich’ provides matter-of-fact hope

    Books

    No more Mockingbird?

Navigate Right