What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Faith, Hope and Love and Ivy June

I added the "love" as Faith, Hope and Ivy June is the title of the book, the first book I've ever read by children's author powerhouse, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.  I needed to "love" because I truly loved this book, even though it isn't my style.  It's a sleepy kind of book, but not boring.  It's a lot of thinking and talking and reflecting and set in the country, but even if you don't like books set in the country, books with lots of thinking and reflecting and talking, I think you will still be charmed by this book.  Charming.  That's it.  But it's more than charming.  It has danger!  If you remember the tragedy of the Sago Mine Disaster, you will feel that danger pretty deeply. 
I don't want to write about Sago.  I thought I did.  But I remember it too well.  I remember watching television when it was believed that all of the miners were found alive.  I went to bed so thankful and happy.  I woke up and learned that all but one were dead.  I had to preach that Sunday.  It was hard.  I talked about miracles and when they don't happen.  Anyway, I don't want to write about Sago right now.  Maybe another post, another day. 
Ivy June is from the backwoods of Kentucky, living in a modest home with no indoor plumbing.  Her school and a private girls' school in Lexington have decided to take part in an exchange program wherein one girl from Ivy June's school comes to live with a girl from the private school for two weeks and then, a week later, the private school girl spends two weeks in the backwoods.  Ivy June is chosen from her school and Catherine is chosen from the Lexington academy. 
There are so many cookie-cutter ways that this story could have gone. 
- the rich girl from Lexington is spoiled and only comes to appreciate "real" life in the backwoods of the impoverished country
- the girl from the country has her eyes opened to a whole new world of education and possibility and a bright future instead of the dead-end life in the coal town.
- everyone could have been a stereotype at first and then, miracle of miracles, no one really was as they seemed to be.
All of those things could have happened and have happened in books that don't measure up to the quality of Faith, Hope and Ivy June
This book doesn't fall into one single trap.  Both girls are "real" girls and any reader can see that. 
Life in the hollow (holler) and life in the wealthy areas of Lexington are very different from one another.  You can see that even when you just drive through, say Butcher Holler  or stay for awhile in Lexington.  But this book shows, and not in a preachy or cheesey way, that people are people, no matter where they sleep at night or use the rest room.  Good stuff!

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