Catching the Light was such an odd book that I still don’t exactly know what to say about it. Cathy is an unpopular illiterate eleven-year-old living in Newfoundland, but though she can’t read or speak properly she sees the world clearly through her art. Drawing and painting are Cathy’s passions and she’s convinced that if she goes to study NSCAD University will change her life for the better. Popular and funny Hutch Parsons is the guy everyone wants to be friends with and he knows exactly what he’s going to do in life: works on the boats in a career in fishing, despite his family telling him otherwise. But when an unthinkable tragedy happens Hutch’s life is changed forever and he needs to create a new path for his life.
This book is weird in the most ordinary way because nothing insanely weird happens. The book is literally just about the lives of Cathy and Hutch and how they eventually intertwine over a period of ten years. But ten years of character development is a lot to put into 288 pages, and Sinnott doesn’t do it well. So many things get sped through, from Cathy’s literacy lessons to suddenly being accepted in university. Even the bus tragedy which causes Hutch to loose a leg and Cathy and Hutch to both loose two good friends was skimmed over. We never got to know about their grief, if they felt anything because while it was said that the people of Mariner’s Cove and around always talked about the bus accident no one ever really seemed to acknowledge it happened.
And then there’s the voice. The story is told in third person and switches between Cathy and Hutch, but even though the story spans ten years both characters sound exactly the same throughout the entire novel. All of a sudden these eleven-year-old voices are talking about having sex with one another that it just doesn’t feel right.
Sinnott seemed to get her real strength in the last few chapters of the novel, when Cathy and Hutch are in university start living in the same apartment complex. It felt like this was the story Sinnott was building up to and it takes up less than half of the novel. I couldn’t help but wonder how the beginning and middle of the novel were even relevant to the end, my only guess that it was an attempt at some slow-burn romance that just wasn’t successful.
That’s not to say Catching the Light is a bad novel though. Sinnott is an incredibly talented writer and I loved the imagery she used to write, especially when writing Cathy and using heavy colour imagery to reflect Cathy’s artists eye. It was an easy read and a beautiful one prose wise, but just boring and irrelevant on the plot front.
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Pages: 288 pages
Genre: Fiction, Canadian, Coming of Age, YA
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
The kids call her Lighthouse: no lights on up there. In a small town, everyone knows when you can’t read. But Cathy is just distracted by the light, lines, and artistry of everyday life. She is a talented artist growing up in the tiny fictional town of Mariners Cove, Newfoundland, where such talent is far from appreciated. Cathy becomes convinced success and acceptance await her at NSCAD University in Halifax. Hutch Parsons is everything Cathy is not: energetic, popular, smart. He’s charismatic, always on the go, and can’t wait to launch his fishing career. But one icy evening Hutch’s life comes crashing down around him, and he must learn to rebuild the broken pieces slowly and carefully–something he may need an artistic eye for.