I'm not a huge fan of this novella, although I am a fan of McCullers's writing style. She's got this talent with imagery and character descriptions thI'm not a huge fan of this novella, although I am a fan of McCullers's writing style. She's got this talent with imagery and character descriptions that's hard to describe. She gives her characters quirks and idiosyncrasies that make them understandable through action instead of exposition, which is something difficult to accomplish and amazing when it works. You are able to see Miss Amelia, in all of her physical awkwardness and emotional detachment from the rest of the town, and watch her change and grow through the way she changes her clothing and her body language and her attitude toward people of the town. McCullers never holds the readers hand through this, she just states the "facts" and lets the reader figure it out on his or her own.
I've heard a few complaints about how this story doesn't make sense, especially the very last piece, but I think reading through the ending (and potentially the entire novella) again is very helpful in puzzling it out. The characters are strange and unpredictable and volatile, but understanding (or at least coming up with a speculation about) what they want is worth the effort.
There were also some surprisingly poignant pieces (one in particular about the reason Marvin Macy's heart became hard stands out) that will rip you to shreds and make you envious of McCullers's way with words, so pay attention to that. She also has a strange, morphing point of view in place that is strange and entertaining to follow....more
Normally I'm not a fan of books that switch narrators. I'd rather focus on one person and be in their head the entire time. However, Danticat does anNormally I'm not a fan of books that switch narrators. I'd rather focus on one person and be in their head the entire time. However, Danticat does an excellent job of using each narrator as a lens with which to view the character at the center of the book--the dew breaker himself. Danticat's writing is clear and efficient without mincing words, and the book is carefully balanced with characters who give differing perspectives on what it is to fear and forgive. ...more
**spoiler alert** Apparently, not reading this book as an adolescent girl is equivalent to not being an adolescent girl. I've had it on my book shelf**spoiler alert** Apparently, not reading this book as an adolescent girl is equivalent to not being an adolescent girl. I've had it on my book shelf since I was ten, and decided to read it now, as a twenty-year-old woman, because I had a couple of hours to kill.
Maybe because I'm twenty now and don't remember, or maybe because so many years have passed since Judy Blume was writing about Margaret's sixth grade problems, but I didn't find a lot to connect me to Margaret as a character. I don't remember ever worrying about when my boobs would grow, or when I would start my period. And I certainly don't remember wishing it would start any sooner. So, to me, this book is just a quaint look at what girls used to be like.
The other part of the book, however--Margaret's search for God and struggle to determine her own religion--struck closer to home. As a kid, my parents, like Margaret's, never went to church, and I had two sets of grandparents trying to force me to become a part of their own respective religions. Margaret takes it a little more seriously than I did as a child, but that's to be expected when it's a main part of the plot. While the period/boobs plot line was quaint to me, the religion thread was somewhat touching.
My problem is with the way the book goes unresolved. Sure, it's 150 pages and written for ten and eleven year old girls in the early 1970s, but there is no resolution whatsoever for me. Margaret, of course, grows up. She gets her period and she moves on to seventh grade, but since the religion plot and the struggle between her two sets of grandparents for her religious upbringing was such a big deal to me (and, seemingly, to Margaret) a lot of it goes unfinished. Margaret says she'll raise her own children religious from the get go, but that she only feels God herself when she is praying to him alone. To me, it's a very mixed ending, and not in a good, humanly confusing way. If Margaret feels at peace outside of religion, why would she ever want to raise her children as part of one and start the same battle her parents had to fight all over again? It's a little ridiculous.
The other thing is, the whole book long Margaret's had this thing for a neighborhood boy. Of course, he's older than her and not interested in her, and she does talk to him at the end and he ignores her, but I'd like to see her reflection on that instead of just what actually happens and then no more. I'd like to see Margaret grow and change a little after all of these events.
My main critique is that I'd like Margaret to begin to change, mentally and emotionally, into a young woman instead of changing only physically.
Otherwise, for a short little book for ten year olds, it's surprisingly good. Judy Blume's writing is always so clear and concise, and her plots are so beautifully uncomplicated that it's hard not to love her books, simple as they may be. ...more