Now, let’s get one thing straight before I begin… There is going to be SPOILERS FOR THE YEARLING! WARNING! SPOILERS FOR THE YEARLING! IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS DON’T READ ON.” Hopefully that got your attention, so if you start sobbing and professing that you will not read this book, I am not to blame okay? I warned you!
Few books can make me cry. Really, I can count them on my hands. Very few books can boast of having made me shed tears. But this… this was one of them. I read the end in shock, my eyes opening wide and in just, well, I hate repeating words, but just in shock. Complete shock. And my eyes were watering as I stared down at that page asking “Why? Why did you do that?”
It was an amazing book. But I would never reread it, ok, well, maybe one day I will, but after my heart heals. The Yearling is about a boy named Jodi Baxter. He lives out in the country, and at the beginning it looks like a normal book about a kid who lives in that time, hunting and small town adventures. But in the middle of the book, a new character comes in and he changes everything. His name is Flag. Flag is a deer. And Flag broke my heart into itty bitty pieces.
Jodi finds Flag after a doe dies, and he takes him in, and for most of the book, it looks like it will be an ordinary happy story about a boy and his pet. But this author, she put reality into it. And in the process of doing that, she shattered my heart and I am currently fixing it with some ducktape.
Flag gets into the fields, and eats some of their crops. They do everything they can to keep him out, they fence him in, they tie him up, but nothing will work. So his dad, who’s sick at the moment, tells Jodi to go out and shoot Flag. He goes out, but he can’t shoot him. So he comes back, and his mom shoots Flag. She misses, wounding him and putting him in terrible pain. Jodi rushes out in a rage, grabbing the gun and putting Flag out of his misery.
Then, he runs. He runs. Putting everything behind him, he runs as his heart breaks and he watches his deer, his friend, his companion, fall again and again; he realizes he was the one who put the bullet in his head. And he retches and cries and I’m reading on through the blanket of tears. He comes home after two days, and then he talks to his father. And at that moment, Jodi Baxter leaves the innocence of childhood, with the fall of his deer, he became a young man.
The last paragraph killed me…
“In the beginning of his sleep, he cried out “Flag!”
It was not his own voice that called. It was a boy’s voice. Somewhere beyond the sink-hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks, a boy and a yearling ran side by side, and were gone forever.”
I’ll be back later, with some happy post, but right now, I’m gonna go get some more ducktape…