Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is not the standard reading of many people in high school because it is very different. It is nonfiction; there is no plot; there are no characters; and it really says nothing. It is a book about seeing, and the necessity to see what lies in front of one's eyes.
Dillard conveys this by discussing many interesting facts about small animals and insects. Dillard's ability lies in knowing a multitude of things about praying mantises, Polyphemus moths and muskrats. She also knows about spiders, starling, and Pine Processionaires. To sum up, Dillard uses the examples of the little things in life to demonstrate that there are things to see in the world.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek won a Pulitzer Prize, and the reason is quite obvious. Dillard writes in a refreshing, if complex style and says trite things in new ways. Her sense of humor is developed, and everything in the book supports her theme. The style is her main advantage, and she shows masterful control of the English language. On a scale of one to ten, I would give this book a seven, because the content is lacking, though the style excels.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.