Lori's Reviews > Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918
Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918
by Lois Lowry
by Lois Lowry
This is Lois Lowry‘s latest book, hot off the 2011 press. In 1918, the flu pandemic cost 50-100 million lives. The reality of this comes home to us as we read the story of eleven-year-old Lydia, who with her brother, is orphaned by the sudden illness and death of their parents. They are eventually taken in by the Shakers at the Sabbathday Lake community in Maine (which actually exists to this day). The story is fictional, but the depiction of life among the Shakers is realistic. I once visited a Shaker village in Kentucky, and was transported back there by Ms. Lowry’s portrayal. Lydia experiences the loss of her family, a time of bewilderment and change, and a new way of life she must adapt to. She finds love in her new “family” of Shakers, but must decide whether to make a covenant with them when she is an adult, or to return to “the world” she left as a child. This book masterfully weaves the destructive force of the Spanish influenza on a small American town, a child’s coming of age, and a separate way of life chosen by people in the Shaker community. The Historical Note and actual photos at the end of the book add valuable information to an already priceless work.
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