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The Falconer By: Dana Czapnik

February 16, 2019

 

Books have been around for centuries, and stories for even longer, yet to find a story that is full of such raw human emotions and memories is a rare beauty in itself. “The Falconer,” by Dana Czapnik is your classic coming of age story, but with a twist.  

“The Falconer” follows seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler as she finds herself and her place as an opinionated woman in a man’s world.  Growing up in New York City in a multi-ethnicity family, Lucy stumbles through life, making mistakes and claiming victories in a world that tries to confine her to its expectations. She is determined to break the mold. 

Tall, gangly, with short hair, two-year state Basketball champion, Lucy is no stranger to ridicule and unfair stereotypes. Lucy is discovering who she wants to be while pining for her best friend Percy, who she believes to be a philosophical genius despite his backward treatment of his various flings.  

Czapnik skillfully relays an accurate and relatable view of what it means and what it looks like to be coming of age in 20th Century America. Life is not always pretty, nor is it fair. Life is messy and sometimes feels like it is moving faster than a subway train.  

Czapink understands and beautifully conveys the beauty in the frustrating chaos that is growing up as an independent-minded woman. The novel technically follows a chronological timeline from September 1993 to early 1994, but constantly bunny trails into the narrator, Lucy’s, random thoughts and memories, just as human minds function in real life, constantly and occasionally all over the place. 

Plot-wise, “The Falconer” has no definite beginning or definite end, just as any year in the life of a teenager today, although there are many different climaxes and defining moments. The book opens in the middle of an ordinary moment in the life of Lucy Adler- in the middle of a basketball game on the public courts in Manhattan.  The story begins not as a narration of the game, but as Lucy’s disorganized thoughts as she “roughs it” with the boys in the park.  

“The Falconer” accurately portrays the teenage experience- the confusion and chaos, the misguided fun and rebelling, the need to make a mark and the journey to discover meaning in life.  

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