Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I wanted to love this book. I really did. It's a great concept. Four girls and their mothers form a book club and read classic books. As they read their lives begin to reflect the plots of the books they are reading together. In the first book they read Little Women (an old favorite of mine). The girls are not actually all friends. Their mothers have forced them into this group and there are some old conflicts to be worked through. Each girl has some private struggles to deal with as well. The problem to me with this book is that I just didn't like the girls all that much. The book switches perspectives to all four girls and I didn't feel sympathetic toward any of them. And their mothers weren't exactly believable either. I especially disliked the fat jokes the mothers made about another girl's mother (even though she was a nasty character). It was not a terrible book. I did like the connections to Little Women and I am going to read another one and give it another chance. It just wasn't a great book and that is what I was hoping it would be. The fourth installment in this series is based on the Betsy-Tacy series of books which is my all-time favorite series of books and I will be giving that book a try soon. It's on my nightstand now.
This novel is based on the true story of Maria Virginia Farinango, one of the authors. She was a very poor indigenous girl growing up in the mountains of Ecuador. Her people were badly discriminated against by the mestizos, who were descendants of the Spanish, and who considered themselves superior to the indigenous farmers who were beneath them on the social ladder. At age 7 Virginia was sent to be a servant to a mestizo family in a city far from her home. She was essentially a slave—working day and night cooking and caring for children and never allowed to leave the house. She was a very bright, inquisitive girl with a lot of initiative, and in spite of her imprisonment she learned to read and always kept her eye on escaping and getting an education. How she turns around her life and fulfills her childhood dreams makes for a perfect coming of age story for young people. I thought this was a fascinating story and all the more inspiring because it is true.
I am catching up on my blog posts. I read this a while ago and forgot to blog about it. It is a delightful graphic novel told in first person by a teenager named Paige who moves to New York City and feels sort of lost there. It's about how she uses her art to create a new life for herself. I think this would be fantastic for girls 7th grade and up—and probably would appeal to girls who don't usually go for graphic novels. Artists especially will love how Paige expresses herself through her drawings.