Jaime's Reviews > Madapple

Madapple by Christina Meldrum
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's review
Aug 02, 11

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, young_adult
Read in August, 2011

This was a sort of bizarre story. Madapple takes place in a Maine I don’t really recognize. Aslaug and her mother live in almost complete isolation in what I presume to be in-land Maine (which, believe it or not, is far different than coastal Maine), living off the land and eschewing all modern conveniences. Aslaug is barely allowed to read, let alone go to school, go shopping, or watch TV. Before her mother’s death, she doesn’t even know she has family living very nearby, and she discovers them rather accidentally. Whether or not this is a good thing is best left up to the reader.

We learn rather quickly that Aslaug is on trial for not only the death of her mother, but for burning down the church where she lived and some people inside. I enjoyed the structure of the novel as it bounced back and forth between the past and the present, revealing tiny pieces of the puzzle along the way. Things the reader assumes early in the story turn out to be far from the truth.

The author connects each chapter from the past with a particular piece of botanical knowledge. I learned about a lot of plants that I never knew existed, but sometimes there was a little too much detail when really, I just wanted to get on with the story.

Overall, I thought this was a really interesting book. It’s not light, and it’s not happy, and it touches upon not only the relationship between religion and science, but on the relationships between mothers and daughters, rape, incest, and abuse. If your book club can get past the fact that it’s technically a young adult book, I think Madapple is a great novel to stimulate discussion.

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