Thursday, May 13, 2010

Review: The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond
By: Elizabeth George Speare
ISBN: 0440995779 (9780440995777)

Summary from GoodReads:
A high-spirited teenage girl rebels against the narrow-minded ways of Puritan Connecticut and befriends a lonely old woman who is subsequently accused of being a witch.

This book had the most profound affect on me and my life both as a reader and a woman. Kit Tyler is an impulsive and genuine young woman with a very strong mind with whom I definitely identified with. In this time in Puritan society this description isn't one that you want nor was it for me for a long while. The ability to identify with at least one character is always a good indicator of a story because the whole idea is to walk in an other's shoes no matter how different they are from your own.

Also as with all great stories they have lessons that you are meant to take away from the story if it fails to do this then in my opinion the story no matter how entertaining it was, it was a waste of time. In regard to this book it is thoroughly riddled with ideas and morals, some very unexpected given the time period.

It taught me that sometimes you just won't fit in but that doesn't mean you should change your "feathers":
"You know," he said, looking carefully away at the river, "once ~hen I was a kid we went ashore at Jamaica,~ and in the marketplace there was a man with some birds for sale. They were sort of yellow- green with bright scarlet patches. I was bent on taking one home to my grandmother in Saybrook. But father explained it wasn't meant to live up here, that the birds here would scold and peck at it. Funny thing, that morning when we left you here in Wethersfield---all the way back to the ship all I could think of was that bird." -Nat Eaton
It taught me what love is and shouldn't be:

"You and I would always be uneasy, ail of our lives. We would always be hoping for the other one to be different, and always being disappointed when it didn't happen. No matter how hard I tried, I know I could never care about the things that seem so important to you." -Kit Tyler
It taught me love is sometimes hidden right in front of you.

It taught me truth and loyalty are two of the most important things in life.

Most importantly be yourself for the right people will love you more for that and the ones that don't, don't matter.

As far as did the author succeed in their story, read the following quotes.
“I don’t believe a historical novel should gloss over the pain and ugliness. But I do believe that the hero… should on the last page… still be standing with the strength to go to whatever the future may hold.” -Elizabeth George Speare

"Every book begins with questions. How must it have seemed to people who lived through this experience? What choices would I have made in their place? I must find the answers by going back in the past, by living side by side with them until the world they lived in becomes as real to me as the room in which I am working. This is an enormously satisfying experience. I find that renewed perspective and a sort of reinforcement to the spirit…[are] gifts from the past that…a person of any age…can gain from reading…historical fiction." -Elizabeth George Speare
If I am to judge the story based on these then the author most definitely succeeded on all counts.

As far as eye-candy when it comes to covers this is my favorite cover of all the editions of this book. I love how she looks free-spirited even in the strict clothing of the Puritans. I like how the artist included water in the background because the difference in the water was one of the first indicators that Kit was no longer in clear blue Barbados water but rather the murky water of Connecticut. The cover also gives a hint of the wooded way the North used to be like during that time before the Industrial Revolution.

Overall I give this book a five. It is a book you will want to give to any girl coming of age, or any woman at a crossroads in her life. Personally, I pick up a copy of this book whenever I can and have several editions that sometimes if I have doubles I tend to give them away.

1 comment:

Beth Negri said...

BahGlenn said...
I've always heard you rave about this book, so I was always curious as to what exactly it was about. It seems like an interesting book and one of these days I'll have to give it a flip. Kudos for the excellent review!
May 21, 2010 at 2:01 AM