This is a gem of a book. I dived into this story and snuggled in. It was a real comfort read for me. Thank you to Goodreads friend Kathryn; I doubt I’...moreThis is a gem of a book. I dived into this story and snuggled in. It was a real comfort read for me. Thank you to Goodreads friend Kathryn; I doubt I’d have found this book without her!
There is so much to love here. both the child and adult characters are fully developed. I love that each character is given their due and that both children and adults are shown with each of their strengths and challenges and commonalities, and believable feelings and personalities. The same goes for the dogs and to some extent the other animals. I got attached to most of the characters and cared about them.
Even though I am an ethical vegan, all the food made me hungry. I love when stories have foods that are so evocative. I enjoyed how the kids fully participated in the needed chores. I loved the pretend and other play. I loved the exploring and imagining that was done. I really felt as though I were there, from the train ride to the big house and to the other homes and buildings and countryside.
I appreciated how people changed and evolved, and communicated. The way the people are depicted is very psychologically sophisticated. I really like that the adult characters are shown learning and changing and having “their issues” the same way as the kids are. Developing adult and not only just child characters is unfortunately not universally done in books for young people. In this way, this book was ahead of its time!
The illustrations are outstanding. They’re fun and beautiful and charming, and detailed, and they really add to the story. I love the illustration and the story line around the very top rounded room at the top of the great house.
Everything about this book is winsome.
4 ½ stars, down ½ star because there are some slightly sexist, possibly slightly racist, and classist, other not modern sensibility pc things. These are all things that were routinely written when this book was published and also when I was the targeted reading age for this kind of book. Because of anachronisms such as this, I often prefer modern children’s literature for today’s children. While I’d be fine with children reading this book, if they weren’t already worldly wise I’d want them to read or be read to along with some discussions. Maybe it’s why the book hasn’t stayed in print but there are so many other books of its era that are in print and widely read that are no more pc and in some cases are not as good books as this one is.
If I’d had it read to me at ages 6-8 or read it on my own at ages 8-10 or 11+ it would have been a favorite. I loved it today too. My heart ached at times, at times I laughed, but the entire experience was a “cozy” one. I know the people and dogs will stay with me. I’ll have to look up this author-illustrator and see if they have other books available to read.
Wow! I’d have loved this when I was 8,9, or 10 (it was published when I was 7 or 8) but I’m virtually certain this is the first time I’ve read it. I f...moreWow! I’d have loved this when I was 8,9, or 10 (it was published when I was 7 or 8) but I’m virtually certain this is the first time I’ve read it. I found it thanks to GR friend Kathryn. Either my school and public library didn’t have it back then or I skipped it because of the boy character(s) and that would have been a shame because the two boys and a girl have equally good roles, and they’re all wonderful. It’s a good “boy” AND a “girl” book.
The story is charming and fun, suspenseful, heartwarming, full of adventure and family and friendship. It’s well written and it’s a riveting and well-crafted story. The characters are well developed too, and I had strong feelings about most of them. The mystery is very good, and I was actually surprised by the end, pleasantly surprised. The chapter titles are useful and a tad bit red herring like at times, but I enjoyed that. The illustrations are top notch a lovely to view, and they really enhance the story. The whole book is so evocative and there is some interesting historical information in it as well. There was room open for a sequel and I wish there had been one.
I’d have torn through this book, then and now, if I could have taken the time. It could easily be read in one day.
I admit all the lobstering talk was a bit much for me and I’d recommend it to vegan/vegetarian (and kosher keeping?) children only along with some explanations. But why it almost got only 4 stars from me is I had a hard time understanding the decisions and motivations of a few characters a few times. I think I might be the one wanting here though, so I’ll ask the only other person I know who’s read it to tell me her take.
It wasn’t until I read the author bio at the end of the book that I realized the author was a woman and not a man. it hardly matters but I found that interesting.
There is only one copy of this book in the entire LINK+ system my library uses (many public, university, and private libraries in California and Nevada) and this copy belongs to San Jose State University. Given what a gem it is it really should be more available, and I fervently hope this copy stays in circulation. I feel lucky that I was able to borrow it.(less)
Wow! This book was simultaneously devastating and fascinating for me. Overall, I found it to be a downer, a huge one.
I had hoped I’d see Laura’s life...moreWow! This book was simultaneously devastating and fascinating for me. Overall, I found it to be a downer, a huge one.
I had hoped I’d see Laura’s life as one well worth living and uplifting, and that I’d find strength and inspiration there, despite her extreme sensory deprivation (she’d lost 4 senses, all but touch) but I didn’t, not as much as I’d have liked anyway. I found the book and Laura’s life very depressing, but I also found myself laughing a lot. Thank goodness for humor.
It didn’t help that I didn’t like these people. I did love Asa (though I might not have in real life) and at least some of these people were abolitionists which helped me dislike them a lot less, that and the simple fact of life’s difficulties helped me feel empathy for them, especially Laura, but most of them. What a world they were all trapped in. I guess I had the most problems with Doctor and Laura’s father, but really while I could sort of understand everyone, it was hard for me to like them. Given that, it’s amazing how much I enjoyed the book.
I found it interesting to see miscommunications magnified even more than usual, due to Laura’s limitations and isolation, severe even in the best of times, which was sometimes funny and often tragic.
At first I was disappointed when I found that every chapter wouldn’t be in Laura’s voice, and I’d assumed I’d be most interested in the young Laura, but it turned out I was able to get engaged with everyone’s voices and with Laura throughout her lifetime.
I enjoyed the Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller short portions. I’d been interested in Laura perhaps because of my longstanding interest in Helen and Annie.
I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I kept reading this as non-fiction, but it’s a novel. I think I might have to read a biography of her, with a lot of “in her own words.” I’m really grateful that at the end of the book the author cleared up some things about what was fictionalized and what actually happened.
I came away really enjoying the book but feeling horrified and sad about Laura’s life, and others’ lives too. It wasn’t only Laura’s sensory deprivation, though that was most of it, but the heartbreaking ways in which she was treated, educated, and how clear communication was gravely impacted, and how helpless in the world she so often was, how dependent she was, by necessity. I could 100% forgive and understand Laura’s religiosity. The whole story was difficult to read, but hard to forget, and very enjoyable in its own way.
I actually won this at GR First Reads but it came about a month after publication, which would have been fine if it was the hardcover edition I was expecting, but it was a very unattractive uncorrected proof edition, which would have been fine only if it had truly been an advance copy. So, I read a borrowed library edition, and didn’t touch the received uncorrected proof. I felt a bit blackmailed into reading the book. I wanted to read it, but with all the books on my to-read shelf, I’m not sure I’d have gotten to it, and doubt would have gotten to it as quickly as I did. I’m glad I did though so I can’t be that irked about how I came to read it now.(less)