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The Artichoke Assignment

Enclave  - Ann Aguirre

My first assignment in my 10th grade English class was to describe how to cut the heart out of an artichoke, something I hadn't done before and honestly haven't done since. I had my mom pick me up one at the store she showed me how to do it. (we didn't exactly have the internet to look up a quick and easy 'how to', but my friend did have a green screened computer and the Oregon Trail game...ah yeah...) Easy right? I thought English was going to be a breeze. But when all of us turned our homework in and the teacher had us describe to her how to do it she basically acted like she had never seen one before and did exactly what we had written, if we didn't tell her to hold the artichoke with one hand while cutting it, she didn't do it. She would just sort of swipe at it with the knife. It was sort of amusing and so we learned our first lesson, how to make detailed descriptions...or something. Like I actually retained information from sophomore year, I barely remembered doing that at all until I read Enclave. It was the way that Deuce looked at things she had never seen before that reminded me of it. In her world I doubt she had artichokes or definitely not the Oregon Trail game. So when she came across something like a hood (something we recognize instantly) she only sees extra fabric at the back of her shirt. It's fun and interesting to see the world through Deuce's eyes because there were times that she would find things she'd never seen before and at first something as simple as a toilet I didn't recognize until I was given a full description. It took me two of Fade and Deuce's trips out of the enclave for me to realize where their people were living. And I loved it. It was like I was right there with Deuce, surprised at the unknown and stupidly excited when she found running water and was startled by it. When she first saw the moon I realized I took it for granted.

A curve of silver hung amid the brighter specks; it looked to me like a curved dagger, pretty but deadly, as if it might slice the sky in two.

What fun is it if she just flipped up her hood or found a pocket knife, boring. I appreciated it. Ann Aquirre would have gotten an A on the artichoke homework assignment. (Which I don't think I did btw)

While simple every day things were laid out more than they would be in another book the normally drawn out actions scenes were skimmed down and cleaned up. A fight wasn't four pages long detailing every single kick and each step and blow. And I have to admit, it was sort of refreshing. They were short sweet and to the point, I never found myself skimming, which I sometimes do once a section has lost my interest.

The angsty teenage post-apocalyptic love story was also noticeably less. It was definitely there, the seeds of romance were planted, but wasn't what the entire plot revolved around and that was once again, refreshing. Once in a while I can do without all mushy, dramatic, heart stopping romance. But I do need a more Fade/Deuce in the next one...just a little.

"And maybe what I meant when I said that about Deuce is I don't want to do without her."


Yeah, of course I have a crush on Fade...obviously. And maybe just a little on...someone else that I probably shouldn't. Lets just say I'm drawn to the fatally flawed.


All in all...a good read.