Personally, I really enjoyed Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones. What really appealed to me was how the characters were carefully developed in the first half. By separating the two stories initially, it allowed the reader to get to know the thoughts and back stories of both characters. I thought that this was really important for the story because when we see the two together, the reader sees how others view the characters rather just how the characters view the world. For me, this completely switched my reading of the text. In the first half, I really identified with Caution and would skim through Blink’s chapters to get to hers. However, as soon as Caution and Blink meet, I switched and identified with Blink much more. I found his naivety made him more genuine, hopeful, and likeable when compared to Caution. I ended up loving both characters in the end, but I really enjoyed getting to know the characters on different levels. As well, the change in points of view worked for me. I’m not sure if I would have connected with the characters in the same way if they had been written from different points of view.
In preparation for class, I read an acceptance speech by the author. In Wynne-Jones’ acceptance speech for the 2011 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction, he explains that initially this story only featured Blink and the author was grappling with another story idea that featured an unnamed female character trying to get away from her drug dealing ex-boyfriend. After the manuscript was sent back because the publisher wanted Blink to have an ally, Wynne-Jones merged the two ideas together and created the character Caution. Wynne-Jones also talks about how he played with the idea of having this novel be two stories in one – where you read the first story, flip it around and read the next story. I found this and the fact that two stories were merged into one extremely interesting!
We had debated in Monday’s class about how the changing points of view worked for some people and really did not work for others. After reading the author’s story of how he created the novel, everything seemed to add up. Wynne-Jones merged two different plots into one story, which may have resulted in the changing points of view not being executed perfectly. However, Wynne-Jones is trying something new! It may not have been executed perfectly, but he is still trying to mix things up. As an Education major, I think that this text would be extremely useful in showing students the different points of view in literature. We brought up in class that second person point of view is uncommon in literature, so I think that Blink and Caution would be one of the few texts that we could use to show second person point of view actually being used.
As well, it is important to note that Wynne-Jones usually writes adult literature. So not only is the author trying a new writing style, but he is trying to appeal to a whole new audience! This may have resulted in the plot being a little bit over the top and unrealistic. However, I think that a lot of YA novels have plots that are over-the-top. (I do not find this so much in the texts that we have read in class, but in ones I read as a teen). The reason that I think YA literature tends to have over-the-top plot lines is because authors are still trying to open young adults’ minds to the possibilities of the world. To me, YA lit is about exploring new ideas and opportunities, and forming new opinions. It’s about discovering issues in our society and the possible solutions for those issues. YA lit SHOULD push the boundaries in my opinion, even if the plot becomes far-fetched. This text alone explores so many issues: death, grief, domestic abuse, drugs, sexuality, relationships, family, corruption, homelessness, environmental issues…the list goes on. Therefore, even though Wynne-Jones is writing for a whole new audience and may not have been used to it, I personally think he was on point with this plot.
Hopefully this was food for thought! Regardless of if you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear your opinion!
Time Wynne-Jones’ acceptance speech for the 2011 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction: