Quite a few years have passed since we last checked in with the Penderwicks. Rosalind is now a freshman in college, Skye is a high school senior, JaneQuite a few years have passed since we last checked in with the Penderwicks. Rosalind is now a freshman in college, Skye is a high school senior, Jane's driving, Batty's in fifth grade, Ben's in second, and there's a new sister, Lydia, who's only two. The focus has shifted to the younger Penderwick siblings, especially Batty. Batty's not having such a great spring. She lost someone important to her over the winter, and she feels responsible. Then she overhears a conversation between Skye and Jeffrey that leaves her questioning everything she knew about her family, and especially her mother's death.
This book got a little dark! I was surprised! The Penderwicks have always had their childhood troubles but as an adult listening, they don't seem insurmountable to me. My heart ached for Batty now. Poor thing. She's always been the baby of the family, so I guess I'm used to thinking of her that way. I had a hard time thinking of her as a big ten-year-old. Little four-year-old Batty! With her butterfly wings! I was upset by the loss she'd experienced and it didn't get better from there. Even their beloved neighbor, Nick, has gone off to war. These are things that kids are experiencing nowadays, it just took me by surprise in a series that's been fairly light-hearted to this point.
That said, it is still the Penderwicks and all does come right in the end. Whew! It was so nice to see the girls a little older. They're still very much themselves. It felt like I was checking in with some dear friends. I laughed and cheered and mourned with them, as you should in the very best books.
As always, Susan Denaker's narration is perfect.
I won't say more since this is getting pretty late in the series and I don't want to give away more spoilers. If you haven't read this charming series, correct that now. I recommend it as a modern classic....more
This book does a good job with hotel and restaurant recommendations but I don't feel like I have a great idea about what to do anywhere, especially inThis book does a good job with hotel and restaurant recommendations but I don't feel like I have a great idea about what to do anywhere, especially in Acadia. I know there's a separate book for the national park, but only 8 pages in this one, most of it just about the Loop Road and the Jordan Pond House, makes it not worth the money. I know I can use Tripadvisor to figure out what I want to do, but I like my travel books. I want all the details at my fingertips. I don't know if there are better books about coastal Maine, but there are definitely travel books with better layouts that I've used religiously for other parts of the world....more
1960 was a turbulent year. The Cold War was getting serious, with Eisenhower and Khrushchev using the Olympic Games as a propaganda platform and tryin1960 was a turbulent year. The Cold War was getting serious, with Eisenhower and Khrushchev using the Olympic Games as a propaganda platform and trying to woo athletes into defecting. The Civil Rights movement was gaining traction. Definitions of "amateurism" and the direction of future Olympics were being determined. For the first time ever, a few competitions were being televised. South Africa was trying to fight apartheid. Women were being accepted into more and more events but were still woefully underrepresented. All of these external factors came to bear on the landmark Olympic games set in the Eternal City.
I don't know that I agree that these Olympics "changed the world" but I would definitely agree that they showcased changes that were happening in the world at large.
I'm not a sports fan but I read this for the "Eclectic Reader Challenge" as a sports book that I might be able to tolerate. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying it. I can't say I particularly cared about all the details of every race and competition, but the personalities and the history were the driving force behind the book. I found myself taking away a series of striking mental pictures, some amazing, some that left me shaking my head.
Ethiopian Abebe Bikila running barefoot through the dark streets of Rome to win the Olympic gold medal in the marathon, becoming the first East African to win a medal.
South Africa arguing successfully that the reason there weren't any black athletes on their team was because they just weren't as talented as the white athletes.
Bing Crosby belting out "The Star-Spangled Banner" when an anti-American crowd was booing as it played for Eddie Crook, a gold-medal winning boxer.
Wilma Rudolph, who had polio as a child, gracefully running to a gold medal in the women's 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4 x 100 meter relay.
The shock and dismay of the old-school male committee members when women running the 800-meter (about half a mile) collapsed in exhaustion at the end. The event had been cancelled since 1928 for that reason.
Rafer Johnson hanging on through the final event, the 1500 m run, with grim determination to win the decathlon.
Weightlifter Yuri Vlasov marching into the Olympic stadium carrying the Soviet flag in one outstretched hand in the Opening Ceremony.
Rafer Johnson, the first African-American man to carry the flag for the United States in the Opening Ceremony.
Even though I really don't enjoy watching sports, I do love watching the Olympics. I think it's seeing these world-class athletes at the peaks of their careers that makes it special for me. But more than that, I'm a sucker for the background stories. I absolutely respect the hardship and sacrifice that the athletes endure to get where they are. If you enjoy these kinds of stories as well, you'll enjoy this book....more
I remember spending a few nights like this as a kid. It was nice to see someone else going through it and then finding the perfectly reasonable explanI remember spending a few nights like this as a kid. It was nice to see someone else going through it and then finding the perfectly reasonable explanations....more