Author: Katherine Applegate
Format Read: Kindle
Jackson is an intelligent and articulate child. He wants to be an animal scientist when he grows up, and “Crenshaw” is told from his point of view. And while he has his grown-up profession all mapped out in his head, his life at the moment is fraught with difficulties. He lives in a cramped apartment with his parents and five year old sister. Their finances are dwindling, and Jackson’s father is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Most of the family’s possessions have to be sold – and Jackson is terrified that they will become homeless, and forced to live in their minivan.
And in the middle of all that, a large (outsize, actually) and friendly cat turns up. His name is Crenshaw, and Jackson is pretty sure he isn’t real. Cats do not take bubble baths and surfboard. His rational, scientist mind is appalled at the idea that he, of all children, should have an imaginary friend.
But there it is.
Crenshaw the cat really shouldn’t be there, but he is. And his presence gives Jackson a sense of purpose, and the strength to deal with the crisis around him. Something about Crenshaw gives the boy a chance to reflect, and something to hope for.
Essentially, “Crenshaw” is the story of an imaginary friend who keeps a lonely child company. Crenshaw the cat knows all that Jackson knows, obviously. But he also knows a little more than the child knows. So is he really imaginary?
I also found Jackson’s best friend Marisol an interesting character. On the surface, Marisol is as rational as Jackson is. But Marisol, unlike Jackson, is hardly surprised by an imaginary friend. Because she believes in magic, even if it is imaginary magic, because it gives her something to believe in and hope for.
And for Jackson, accepting Crenshaw (bubble baths included), as a friend was exactly the kind of magic he needed. Even if he is only imaginary.
Except that his dog Aretha can see Crenshaw…
A very true and vibrant children’s story, “Crenshaw” was definitely worth the read.
“I’ll leap on to their beds and walk on their heads. It will be amusing.”
Crenshaw in “Crenshaw” by Katherine Applegate