Mark Romero Tigner English 9 Period 3 October 19, 2012 Swallowing Stones Michael Mackenzie will think that he is having the best day of his life on his seventeenth birthday party on the Fourth of July, because in that moment he does not know that he has accidentally killed a man. In Swallowing Stones, Joyce McDonald has written about a teenage boy whose life will turn upside down when he finds out he has killed Jenna Ward’s father, Charlie Ward.
The Briarwood police department desperately looks for the killer while Michael hides it from everyone except for a few of his friends, making them accessories. When Michael hears about Charlie’s death on the radio his best friend Joe Sadowski, who was with him when he shot his . 45-70 Winchester rifle, tried to convince him that it wasn’t him who killed the man. Soon, the two friends find out that it was him and Michael tries to hide the evidence. The police manage to narrow their search to about forty kids that were at Michael’s party.
Michael starts to feel unsafe around everyone except one friend, Amy Ruggerio. He visits her every day after work, but she starts to feel uncomfortable with him. She finally tells him that she saw him and Joe walk out of the woods with the rifle on the day of his party. While this was happening, Jenna kept dreaming with Michael and a huge tree but she didn’t know why. She also thought she saw him waiting outside her house on some nights, watching her. She begins to question why. Whenever she thinks about the killer Michael’s face pops into her mind.
Everybody started to suspect it was Joe so Michael starts feeling guilty. Finally, he takes the rifle and drives to police station to confess. On his way there, he visits the Spirit Tree, a huge tree in the woods that Joe and he visited as little kids to hang out. When he gets there he’s surprised to find Jenna sleeping next to the tree. He decides to wait until she wakes up to tell her the truth. Joyce McDonald uses many forms of literary language and devices, such as similes-a figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared, and etaphors-a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance. “The windows were open and the curtains swelled like gently billowing sails in the breeze” is one example of a simile. Another would be “His tongue felt like an oversized cotton ball. ” A metaphor would be “He was a walking time bomb. ” Another metaphor would be “The whole night had been an emotional roller-coaster ride. ”
Michael Mackenzie did change throughout the story. At the beginning, when he found out about Charlie’s death, he told himself that it could’ve been anyone who fired that bullet. After time he starts to wonder if it was him that night that had killed Charlie. The police also provide evidence suggesting that the bullet had come from the woods behind Michael’s house. He realizes it was him, but he keeps it a secret. At the end of the story he changes though. His guilt was eating him alive.
He decides to turn himself in to the police and not get any of his friends in anymore harm. He also did it so that Jenna knew who it was that had killed her father. So she wouldn’t have to live the rest of her life not knowing who it was. Swallowing Stones was a magnificent novel. Joyce McDonald did a splendid job in this work of art. She made it so that the reader could really feel the suspense in the story. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It’s a really good story and most people would enjoy it.
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