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A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson

3.3  ·  Rating Details ·  119 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
When something is most important to me and I do not want to lose it, I gather it into a poem. It is said that women must employ the needle and not the pen. But I will be a Poet! That's who I am!

Before she was an iconic American poet, Emily Dickinson was a spirited girl eager to find her place in the world. Expected by family and friends to mold to the prescribed role for w
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ebook, 368 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by HarperTeen (first published February 24th 2009)
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Anne Osterlund
Oct 27, 2011 Anne Osterlund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emily is a dreamer, a writer, and a poet. Determined to be true to herself.

If she can only figure out what that means. Does it require hurling herself into the arms of God? Or daring to submit a valentine into dreaded “publication?” Does it mandate that she plunge herself into marriage like her girlhood friends from Amherst, New England? Or fall victim to the ever present symptoms of influenza—or possibly . . . consumption?

Death is everywhere. But also beauty. And nature. And her own dog!
Not to
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Kathy
Jun 16, 2009 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
The form of first-person narrative seems totally appropriate for an actress, accustomed to taking on a role, to adopt as a writer. This memoir is totally believable - it does seem to capture Dickinson's voice and likely thoughts: the frequent use of exclamation points, the quiet personal confession of pride or jealous feelings, the astonishment at even little things in the natural world. I appreciate its presentation as fictional.
The story moves slowly, as did their world. It's hard to imagine
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Tessa
I finished this one out of sheer force of will and desire to be done with it. Had I not been reading this for a class I would have put it down. There just wasn't much of a plot, it was just moments of Emily Dickinson growing up. Yes, there was the overarching theme of her developing her identity as a poet, but that was it. The book didn't build up to anything; it just kind of was. I realize that real life is not always as adventurous as the books I like to read and Emily's growing up years may h ...more
Katarina Janjuseic
The book "A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson" by author Barbara Dana tells about the childhood and early life of the famous poet Emily Dickinson. It describes her struggle to become a poet and the restrictions which everyone in her life, especially her father, put on her. In the story, she also describes her thoughts on religion (the parts of Christianity that she accepts and agrees with and the parts that she disagrees with), and marriage. According to this book, Dickinson loved and c ...more
Virginia Brace
Jun 23, 2009 Virginia Brace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Author Barbara Dana immersed herself over a ten year period in the life and words of Emily Dickinson so she could give us a look at what it must have been like to be this extraordinary and spirited girl growing up in the 1800’s in New England.
Emily wrote: “There is always one thing to be grateful for—that one is one’s self and not somebody else.” (This is on a page following the title page.)
In an era when men were the ones who got the best educations, made the family decisions, chose their caree
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Cat for TeensReadToo.com

Despite a huge body of work and lifetime's worth of correspondence she left behind, Emily Dickinson remains an enigma in many people's minds. Why was she so preoccupied with death? Why did she choose to not marry in an era when most women did so to the exclusion of all other pursuits? What drove her to write more than one thousand poems, yet never seek publication for her work?

By immersing herself in Emily's poetry, prose, surroundings, and numerous biographie
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catherine james
Despite a huge body of work and lifetime's worth of correspondence she left behind, Emily Dickinson remains an enigma in many people's minds. Why was she so preoccupied with death? Why did she choose to not marry in an era when most women did so to the exclusion of all other pursuits? What drove her to write more than one thousand poems, yet never seek publication for her work? By immersing herself in Emily's poetry, prose, surroundings, and numerous biographies, Barbara Dana seeks to answer the ...more
Michelle Witte
This really has nothing to do with the book; more with reviews of this book. A few salient points:

1. There is no such thing as "fictional biography." That is called historical fiction.

2. There is no such thing as a fictional memoir, especially of a historic figure who didn't write it. That is also called historical fiction.

3. While we're on the topic, there is no such thing as a fictional novel. It is simply a novel, or fiction.

To sum up, nonfiction fiction. Are we clear?

/rant
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Maria
Nov 02, 2014 Maria rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly ironic that my least favorite thing about "A Voice of Her Own" was the voice. A fictionalized account of Emily Dickinson's life from about 9 - 22, the voice never changes. It seems very inappropriate in her younger years ... who talks the same way at age 9 as at age 20? Also, the author's attempt weave "Emily-ism" into the dialogue comes off contrived. It just does not work. I also thought the author did little to create a narrative worthy of the Great Poet. She led a quiet life, she suffe ...more
Todd
Apr 02, 2009 Todd rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have to give the author a lot of credit for all the research that she did to create this book, but I don't feel that the time spent was worth the finished result.
Awallens
Dec 01, 2009 Awallens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When something is most important to me and I do not want to lose it, I gather it into a poem. It is said that women must employ the needle and not the pen.
But I will be a Poet! That's who I am!

Before she was an iconic American poet, Emily Dickinson was a spirited girl eager to find her place in the world. Expected by family and friends to mold
to the prescribed role for women in mid-1800s New England, Emily was challenged to define herself on her own terms.

Award-winning author Barbara Dana brilli
...more
Jill
Sep 08, 2011 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: pre-teen bookworm girls
I loved the language of the novel and a lot of the imagery, but that only carried me through the first third of the book. After that, the plot seemed to go in circles, never really going anywhere. I guess that's inevitable when you are writing about someone's life (you can't just make stuff up, after all, and in real life there's no tidy story arc, with a climax at just the right point), but after a while, it got old. I wanted to say, "okay, get to the point already. What, you don't have one?!"

B
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Mrs. O' Leary
I'm a huge lit person (kinda obvious considering the website this is on, right?) so the ides of a historical fic about young Emily Dickinson really appealed to me. The book was just... so... boring... I wish I would have read some GoodReads reviews before getting this. Seriously. You guys always know what your talking about. ;)
~ Astrid
Kaitlyn
This book was decent. It wasn't fantastic or life-changing, and I probably won't ever read it again. However, it was a venture from my normal fantasy reading, and thus worthwhile.
I suppose my main thought on it was that it didn't feel like Emily Dickenson. Not that it felt like someone else, it just felt like... a story. It could have been any girl from that time period who like to think deeply and write. There was no need to make it Emily, a fact that actually almost turned me off the book (I'm
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JennLynn
Jul 31, 2016 JennLynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-2016-my-books
A wonderful introduction to the youth of Emily Dickinson. Well researched (based on primary documents like her letters) yet still very readable. Leaves you wanting to learn more about her life and of course to read her poetry.
Melanie
This book is very well done. I would have given it a higher rating except that I'm not into this kind of book.

If you like Dickensian (Charles) literature (long sections of descriptive text), or like long sections of 1st person narrative, this is the book for you. Much of this book explores how Emily D. would have seen the world. And the author is very effective in her writing. I, however, skipped much of the text because my mind was wandering.
Jennifer
Ok if you had to read a book about Emily Dickinson or if you LOVE slow, period piece Americana novels then it would garner a higher rating. For everyone else just looking for appealing historical fiction it is a bit boring but frankly probably more historically accurate (in depictions of home life, the community etc.). I don’t see a huge teen appeal here.
Jennifer
Sep 02, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told from the perspective of Emily Dickinson, this book covers her childhood through young adulthood. It seems very carefully researched and accurately portrays what life would have been like in that time period. I like how the author phrases things the way she thinks Emily would have spoken, giving an original twist to otherwise commonplace reminiscences.
Lauren Magee
Not bad for young adult audience. The ending kind of fell apart for me, timeline was a bit sketchy at times in the last 100 pages, but it was a decent imagining of Emily Dickinson's life. Much better than a similar novel I have read. The author really did a great job, I felt, at finding Miss Dickinson's voice and keeping it consistent.
Anne Broyles
I appreciated Dana's research and the amount of information readers will gain from this book. I found the book to be quite slow much of the time, though, and couldn't imagine younger readers sticking with it until the end. A VOICE OF HER OWN seems more suited to adult readers who are already E.D. fans.
Kelly
Aug 05, 2009 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy novels based on real life stories. This is an easy read with no major drama, just a story about how Emily Dickenson's life was probably like. It was written in the 1st person and the narrative is similar to a classic like Pride and Prejudice which is why I probably enjoyed it so much.
Chelsea
Overall, it was enjoyable. It was a little sad that Emily never married and lived with her family her entire life because her father was so protective of her. It was interesting to learn more about her and this book made me want to read her poetry afterwards.
Casey
Sep 07, 2010 Casey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was very difficult for me to read. Emily Dickinson had a unique way of writing and was a unique front runner in poetry in her time. I think the way this book was written was really hard for me to get past. But, I did like reading about her life.
Shannon Renee
I've always thought of Emily Dickinson as a very complex person. So I was really interested how that complexity would be translated into the older kiddo set. I thought the author did a wonderful job of describing the era and a young troubled lady. Good work.
Karin
Jul 29, 2013 Karin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent book for young people. It was a little bit politically charged with issues that seemed laced with modern political concerns weaved into concerns of the mid 1800's. I knew nothing about Emily Dickinson before so I learned something.
Karen
Feb 25, 2010 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I met the author of this book and wanted to read her perspective since she also acts in the play "The Belle of Amherst" which I am going to see in March. It was written for older kids and had very interesting aspects
Sally Anne
Nov 09, 2010 Sally Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best YA books I have ever read. Completely unlike most YA books, this one has no violence (except for the occasional cat/bird scuffle), very little sex (although it is alluded to) and not much fashion.
Sandybear76
I really couldn't get into this book. I finished it but .... I love Emily Dickinson's poems and really wanted to enjoy this book. It was set in her teen years and just too much teenage angst for me.
Mary Bronson
I really liked this book. I think it is fresh and orginial. I loved the plot and characters. This is a very good historical fiction book. It is a good fiction about the early life of Emily Dickinson.
Anne
Clearly, I read for plot not character - and this was a very character driven book. Read it if you are interested in Emily Dickinson and her young adult life, growing into herself as a poet.
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The Young Adult H...: A Voice of Her Own, by Barbara Dana - May's Read 2 11 May 24, 2014 07:15PM  
And the word is... *drumroll* (aka WORD GAME) 1 1 Jun 27, 2012 08:41PM  
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BARBARA DANA is an award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her books include Zucchini, Zucchini Out West, Crazy Eights, Necessary Parties, Rutgers and the Water Snouts, Spencer and his Friends and Young Joan, a historical novel based on the life of Joan of Arc. Her new novel, A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson, is available March 1, 2009 (HarperCollins Publishers).

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“To lose the approbation of my dog is a thing too horrible to contemplate.” 5 likes
“I have always tried to be obedient regarding important matters like not being scalded to death by burning oil, but when public opinion takes a route far from one's inner conviction, one cannot value disobedience too highly.” 4 likes
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