I actually liked Blink and Caution!

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!

– Kayta

Time Wynne-Jones’ acceptance speech for the 2011 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction:

http://www.hbook.com/2011/12/news/boston-globe-horn-book-awards/blink-caution-acceptance-speech/#_

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5 thoughts on “I actually liked Blink and Caution!

  1. Danielle Fischer says:

    I am also and Ed student and struggled a lot with figuring out how I would teach this novel in a classroom but you make a very good point that it could be used to discuss types of narration! I don’t agree as much that it addressed those important issues like death, homelessness, etc in an effective way that could be discussed at depth in a class but it would perhaps be a good book to use to get your students reading on their own!

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  2. Megan says:

    I am not an Ed student, but I am working on my social work degree and I agree, I think that YA literature can be somewhat excused for an outlandish and unrealistic plot so long as the characters and youth culture are realistic. Youth need to be able to read novels which validate their feelings and social climate, and showing super angsty characters, regardless of how annoying they may feel for adult readers, is still just as important as it is to show homeless or suicidal characters.

    Though I still wouldn’t personally recommend this book to most people. I think there is real value in the third person narrative showcasing the characters with a voice which validates their emotions and motives as opposed to risking the reading audience disregarding them completely.

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  3. When I was talking to my roommate about Blink and Caution I mentioned that half of it was written in second-person narration and her eyes just glazed over. I feel that its so rare to find a novel, or any text of substance, in second person that people forget it even exists! Although the content of the novel was iffy for me, I really did appreciate the author’s attempt to use an uncommon narrative style.
    ~Cayley

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  4. Thanks for voicing your opinions!! I appreciate the feedback! 🙂

    Since Wednesday’s class, I have thought about how the author explored different issues in this text. I think you’re all right – it touched on a lot of issues but did not have enough depth, nor did it really propose any solutions. For that reason, I think that if I were to use this book in a classroom, I would use it as the first novel to see what my students are comfortable discussing and the depth they are comfortable going with those conversations. From there, I would introduce appropriate texts based on their response to the novel.

    – Kayta

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  5. I definitely agree with you about relating to Caution’s character more than Blink’s in the beginning. I found Caution’s story to be more interesting than Blink’s, but I think the reason I disliked his story so much was because his was in second person, while Caution’s was in third person. Maybe this is because I’m more used to third person narration, but I found Blink’s sections to be almost abrasive to read since it felt like the author was talking AT me, rather than talking to me. (I hope that makes sense?) Once Blink and Caution meet up though, I started to relate to Blink better, because there was more action, and maybe I finally started to get used to second person. It was neat to see two different types of narration in the novel though, and that’s really interesting that we can read the stories separately if we like.
    -Michelle H.

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