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#41 The Witch of Blackbird Pond

22 Jan

Now is the time when I express my distaste for a Newbery award-winning novel.  Is that even allowed?  Buh, I feel horrible even typing this post.  However, I did promise you, my readers, that I would write about my experience reading the top 100 children’s books, and that is simply what I am doing.

Enter The Witch of Blackbird Pond and it’s main character, Kit.  Kit has spent most of her life in Barbados (on Barbados?) with her grandfather, living the free and luxurious life.  Her grandfather passes away and leaves Kit to fend for herself, so she heads off on a ship to Connecticut to, hopefully, take up residence with her aunt, uncle and their two daughters.  Oh, and did I mention this takes place in the 1680’s?

When Kit arrives, she finds that her family is living in near-poverty and that her ideals and attitude are much different than theirs.  She is instantly looked down upon and makes friends with the local “witch” secretly.  Without giving any spoilers to the remainder of the novel, let me proceed with my thoughts on themes.

There were way too many themes in this book.  The plot was great, introducing characters in a timely manner, revealing characters well and within the plot of the story, and keeping the main character true to herself.  However, I was so confused by the end of the novel as to what the author was trying to emphasize.  The fact that it takes place in colonial America and the main character is a wealthy white girl from Barbados?  Enough for me already.  Then there was the introduction of a witch hunt and outcast characters and politics and courtship and poverty.  I couldn’t keep everything straight.  This novel, while I do enjoy historical fiction, was not my cup of tea.

As I always ask on posts for books I do not enjoy, please, please comment with your positive ideas on this novel.  I welcome your expertise and experience on this award-winning piece of work.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

by Elizabeth George Speare

Originally published in 1958

 

6 responses to “#41 The Witch of Blackbird Pond

  1. Kari

    January 22, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I haven’t read this one in years, but I loved it back in the day. I read it over and over. I think I related to Kit feeling so out of place – I had recently moved to a town where I didn’t feel like I fit in, either. And I liked the love story.🙂

     
  2. sharon

    January 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I think it’s okay not to like a book… the fact that you can articulate what you didn’t like is important. I also think books from 1958 are different from contemporary literature… I can’t comment about the book: I don’t remember reading it. (Not my cup of tea! So props to you for finishing it!)

     
  3. Amanda

    January 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I read this for the first time back in 2008 and adored it! I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. It was one of the books that (temporarily) got me reading children’s lit again.

     
    • literarywife

      January 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      In retrospect, I want to give it another chance. You know, I didn’t walk away hating it, I guess I was just surprised at the amount the author tried to accomplish in a children’s novel. I should give it another chance.

       
  4. clbeyer

    January 24, 2011 at 12:39 am

    “I guess I was just surprised at the amount the author tried to accomplish in a children’s novel.”

    Oh, that’s what I loved about it — that there were so many rich layers going on, and Speare didn’t apologize for it! I love that she trusts even young readers with all of that. I don’t think anyone is required to keep everything straight (just as you couldn’t possibly keep straight all the layers going on in Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia). But rather, there are moments when something hits you so profoundly and personally — like in real life — that you just love the book all the more for it. To me, it’s what keeps the novel alive and worthy of a reread.

     
    • literarywife

      January 24, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Love the discussion and honesty about this book! Thanks for challenging me in my views. This is why a book-reading community is so important, to bring to light the beauty of literature, when others aren’t seeming to appreciate it enough.

       

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