skein's Reviews > The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
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Aug 06, 09

bookshelves: 3-star
Read in August, 2009

Another one of those I-liked-it-but-maybe-not-because-of-the-book-itself books. I just happen to like the trials of keeping house in 19th century America, and how to bake pies, and how to identify insects, and using distilleries, and courtship and calling cards and bats and the War and having to give piano recitals and the awfulness of short hoes. So I admit my prejudice upfront.
That said - it is a good book. Kelly's writing is easy & charming & not obtrusive - evoking the sense that, although Calpurnia was narrating as a wise(r) adult, she still identified with herself at eleven-and-three-quarters - a difficult achievement. Really the entire book was sweet and clever and charming - I keep coming back to that word but it really is - and genuinely moving in parts - but the episodic style was intensely boring a few times and generally overwhelmed the characters' growth at every turn, excepting Harry - but especially Calpurnia - which is a shame. Her 'evolution' seemed cut off in the middle. Which may be the point - I'm not sure. As it stands, though, the story seems cut off at the knees. An epilogue (much as I hate them) or a few extra lines would have tied up the huge, dangling loose end and given this another star.

The author will do better next time, I think. (A sequel? Please?)
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Reading Progress

08/05/2009 "Mon dieu! c'est charmant!"

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