jess's Reviews > The Witch of Blackbird Pond

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
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Mar 30, 11

bookshelves: 2011, ladyish, yaf
Read in March, 2011

I picked this up because one my favorite librarians said, "No, really, read this one." Sometimes personal recommendations bump things up on my priority list. I enjoyed Kit & her somewhat uncomfortable lifestyle adjustments, although I'm worried that it says something about me that I felt schadenfreude about a fictional teenager.

When her grandfather dies, proud but penniless Kit Tyler leaves her warm, bright home in Barbados for the drab New World of a Connecticut colony to stay with her sweet aunt, her stern uncle and two cousins. From the beginning, Kit doesn't fit in. Her bright fancy dresses scandalize the Puritans and her attitude is a poor fit for colonial America. It's like, the 1600s. Life is rough. The political climate is unstable. Resources are limited. Social expectations are rigid. Life is very demanding, and Kit isn't prepared for any of it. Since she grew up with lots of servants, Kit despises working in the garden and the house. She resents the hard work and drudgery of her new life. After a year she has just started to find her stride in the community, and then everything in Kit's world gets shaken up again. She is able to clarify what is important to her (which is, of course, mostly what was under her nose), decide what she wants for her future and go for it. I was hoping she'd become a pirate queen, or perhaps open a little shop and sell fancy hats. It's cool to choose your own future, even if what she wants is to get marry and settle down with some dude she likes.

Kit defies social conventions in almost all of her personal relationships - friendships she shouldn't make, people she shouldn't talk to, men she should or shouldn't be interested in. Kit is very much a fish out of water in Connecticut. Kit's character is easy to relate to for the modern girl. I had a lot of empathy for the frustration and claustrophobia Kit feels living in the restrictive, sexist New World town.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Robin (new)

Robin I remember reading this. When she jumped in the water and got called a witch because she could swim, I was like, "oooh, she's a WITCH. Awesome." (Because, y'know, I'd totally gotten this book because it said 'witch' in the title; I loved that shit when I was a kid.) Then I found out she wasn't a witch and I was like, Most Misleading Book Title Ever. I still liked it, though.


jess Robin wrote: "I remember reading this. When she jumped in the water and got called a witch because she could swim, I was like, "oooh, she's a WITCH. Awesome." (Because, y'know, I'd totally gotten this book becau..."


Ha, I can totally see myself doing that as a kid! I didn't mention that in the review but at the end I felt like she was a witch, kind of, in the way that the colonists classified a woman who didn't fit into their mold as a witch, and then her boyfriend named his new boat The Witch after her because she really was, even if the charges were dropped at the trial.

But yes, to your childhood self, the whole story was way more about social alienation and punishing women for being different and independent than it was about MAGIC. And like most books, it could have been improved by a little magic.


message 3: by Robin (new)

Robin Too bad she couldn't have been rolling a 20-sided die on that boat. Then I'd get on board for sure.


message 4: by Laura (new)

Laura although I'm worried that it says something about me that I felt schadenfreude about a fictional teenager. Ha ha. Also, I can see that.


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