Krista the Krazy Kataloguer's Reviews > Storyteller

Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff
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Jan 09, 11

bookshelves: read-childrens-books, read-historical-fiction
Read in January, 2011

I'd really like to give this book 3 1/2 stars, or 3 for the part that takes place in the 20th century, and 4 for the part that takes place in the 18th century. The story shifts between Elizabeth in the 20th century, and her ancestor Zee in the 18th century, during the American Revolution. Elizabeth and Zee not only look alike (according to an old drawing of Zee), but are similar in personality. While in the 20th century Elizabeth discovers a side of her family she never knew, Zee loses family in the tragedy of war. Both girls, in the end, learn something about themselves.

What particularly interested me about this story was that Zee becomes entangled in the battle of Oriskany, which took place just a few miles from where I live. I found it annoying, however, that, in the 20th century, Elizabeth and her cousin Harry never once referred to the present-day Fort Stanwix as being in Rome, New York! The name of the fort they visit toward the end of the book was Fort Stanwix, though it was never named, and the preceding chapter implied that was that it was in Utica, which is incorrect.

I actually enjoyed the story of Zee much more than the story of Elizabeth. I didn't care for the third person present narrative of Elizabeth's story. Zee's part was told in the first person past tense, which seemed easier to read. I wish the story had been all Zee's, with more detail. One thing that I question, however, is the implication that the area around Fort Stanwix (present Rome, NY) and Fort Dayton (present Utica, NY) was populated by homesteaders at that time (based on the description of all the men, women, children, and livestock seeking safety in Fort Dayton). I always understood that the area was pretty much wilderness, with a farms along the Mohawk River but not in the Fort Stanwix vicinity. I could be wrong though--I'll have to check into it. Anyway, overall a bit disappointing, but worth the read for Zee's story.
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