Thursday, June 29, 2017

When I read the description of this book somewhere, it sounded like the author was going to tell me secrets about myself. And who can resist that title? Love AND trouble. I'm in - even though I don't really read many memoirs.

The subtitle pretty much describes the book (and indeed most women's thoughts about middle age). There is a reckoning coming when you hit the mid-forties. If you aren't there yet, honey, please - get ready. This is why Love and Trouble is such an entertaining, terrifying, brutal, poignant, and cool read. The author takes her many trials, experiences, and thoughts (also interesting diary entries) from when she was a teen and mixes them with her trials, experiences, and thoughts from her mid-life crisis on a sort of winding continuum. This may sound pithy and overdone when it comes to memoirs, but Dederer manages to tackle this in a very interesting and easily readable way. 

Although I couldn't really relate to it all, as I might have thought by reading the jacket, there was so much that I could see in myself that made it truly enjoyable. It always amazes me how strong women are and how common our experiences really seem to be. I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this one. Try it, and let me know what you think. 

The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill

This is another beautifully written book by Kelly Barnhill. If you loved Newbery winner The Girl Who Drank the Moon, you will certainly like this truly magical tale as well, and vice versa.

There is nothing more engrossing than a tale of witches, magic, kings and queens, bandits, lost souls, and loyal wolves. This book has it all. It is a page-turner of a fairy tale that has a beautiful, fulfilling ending. 

Don't miss either one of these fabulous stories, even if you think you are too old for magic.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I had the great privilege of hearing Newbery author Kelly Barnhill speak at the Kids First Conference in Des Moines, Iowa this year. She spoke about how reading fairy tales changed her life, and I think reading hers will change mine.

This book is full of magic of many kinds. It is about magical characters, magical creatures, and the power of the magic that is in all of us. It is about a witch and her true friend a swamp monster and their "pet," a tiny dragon. It is also about a boy who sees something so powerful that it could change everything. It is about the love of a mother for her child, and the extent people will go to save each other from what they think is evil. 

It's a complicated tale told in the most beautiful language I have read in a long time. I could not put it down, which was amazing and surprising, as I am not used to reading fairy tales any more. And although it's a children's book, The Girl Who Drank the Moon poses some fascinating questions about society and the world we live in today. Should we follow a rule or law simply because it seems to serve a purpose for the many? Is fear ever a necessary method of rule for a government? How do we go about questioning rules or government when it's difficult to do so? And of course, the most important question: Can we learn to use the magic for Good?" I surely hope we can. Perhaps fairy tales can teach us more than we think.