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)