Brittany's Reviews > Thirteenth Child

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
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Sep 19, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: to-read-over-and-over
Read in September, 2010

One of the reasons I love Patricia Wrede's books is the humor that she infuses in very nearly every page. Thirteenth Child was missing that humor, but I didn't notice a thing until well after I had finished the book.

Thirteenth Child is the story of Francine or 'Eff', a girl born right at the cusp of the American Settlers expansion to the Western shores. She is the thirteenth child, who is supposed to bring doom upon everyone in her family. Her twin brother, born just after her, is the seventh son of a seventh son, who supposedly has all the luck and power a man could want. The book then tells their story of growing up in a small town shadowed by superstition, before a lucky break for her family moves them to the very edge of the known world. There, Eff tries to reinvent herself, hiding her status as the thirteenth child, even while it continues to drag her down in her own mind.

I really, really enjoyed this book, and I think it's a must read for anyone dealing with children. Often times, people forget how impressionable children are - Eff spends much of her early years in a self-fulfilling prophecy, put forward by her aunts, uncles, and cousins, who see even the little accidental things (like knocking over a glass of milk) as a part of her Eff's 'decent into evil'. Similarly, her brother is treated as near-royalty when the adults find out he is the seventh son of a seventh son, leading him down a completely different path. To read about this from Eff's point of view was heartbreaking, and a stark reminder that people do this everyday in the real world too. Eff, however, ends up surrounded by family and friends who work everyday to undue the influence of her family, including the awesome Miss Ochiba, who teaches Eff that '13' has many different values.
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