Book Review: Green Boy by Susan Cooper

September 3, 2004


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Green Boy
by Susan Cooper

Trey is very protective of his sensitive, mute little brother, Lou. They live with their grandparents on an outer island of the Bahamas, from which they often cross to an uninhabited isle to look at shells, birds, and fish. But now Long Pond Cay is threatened by powerful developers who want to build a hotel and casino on the spot and spoil all the beauty and life that is there.

Grand and Gramma fight a losing battle against the developers while Trey and Lou fight a different kind of battle: in another world called Pangaia, where they are magically transported. Pangaia is like a nightmare of earth’s future, where mankind has destroyed the environment and clothed the planet in endless, noxious cities. The boys join a group of underground rebels who believe that an ancient prophecy says that Lou will be their savior. But at what cost?

The relationship between the boys is very effective, and the story itself is gripping. I’m afraid I don’t endorse the ridiculous Gaia hypothesis which underlies much of this book, however. You’ll have to take it as you find it. You may (as I did) enjoy this book in spite of its strange spirituality. Most of us would do well to think about our relationship to the environment, though (again) I disagree with the idea evident in this book: that we need to develop a “global consciousness.” I think that’s asking a bit much of the average person. It would mean a lot more–and, I hope, accomplish a lot more–if we all looked out for our own little corner of the globe and felt ourselves to be stewards of the life and systems that dwell there.