Analysis: Writing Style
With not going to school, watching TV, or having any friends, Luke has a lot (and we mean a lot) of time to himself to sit and think. And because the book's narrator is so close to Luke, Haddix writes in a way that makes us feel like we've been doing the same thing. Throughout the book, we enter a scene in one environment and then are immediately transported back to a prior event. Here are a few examples so you get what we're talking about:
- When Luke thinks back to when he first understood that he would always have to be hidden (2.5-40)
- When Luke is at dinner contemplating his initial meeting with Jen (16.9-75)?
- When "Lee Grant" reflects upon telling the truth to Luke's parents and saying his last goodbyes to them (30.6-35).
Haddix is also a fan of throwing in some similes to add dimension to how Luke's feeling and what's going on. Some of our favorites:
- "Their absence made everything look different, like a fresh haircut exposing a band of untanned skin on a forehead" (1.12).
- "But hiding on the staircase, Luke suddenly felt like the radio was as loud as an entire orchestra, like the smell of baking bread could fill three counties" (8.13).
- "The silence between them seemed to be growing, like a balloon" (22.28).
Luke also gets descriptive when coming up with nicknames for his new Baron neighbors. Using some creativity, Luke dubs the new residents the Big Car Family, the Gold Family, the Birdbrain Family, and the Sports Family. Even if we knew nothing about these families, Luke's nicknames help us see what they're like—just as Haddix's prose helps us know that Luke's family is like.