Josiah's Reviews > Keeper of the Doves

Keeper of the Doves by Betsy Byars
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Apr 10, 10

Read from April 08 to 10, 2010

Betsy Byars is an author whose quiet, thoughtful writing style really should not be missed, particularly not by any young reader.

The happenings in Keeper of the Doves center around Amen (whom they call "Amie") McBee and her sisters, all of whom have names that begin with the letter "A". The sisters are growing up in the last decade of the 1800s, but other than the setting, the quintessence of their life is just like ours today. Amie finds that each of her "A" sisters has their own fully formed personality, and to get to know each one of them is to really find her own family. When a new baby is born to the McBees, this time a son named Adam, Amie's family becomes complete in a way that it never quite was before. Her father finally has the son that he wanted, and the girls have a brother.

Through this all, Amie wonders about the simple-minded man living nearby, Mr. Tominski. His past is inextricably linked with their father's since Mr. Tominski saved his life one day down by the trains. Amie isn't sure whether to be afraid of Mr. Tominski or to like him; she's not even sure whether or not she wants to get to know him.

Amie finds out about the fleeting nature of life when two separate but connected tragedies occur in her family and its periphery. Amie sees that the things and people around her are not clear cut, that they aren't really completely good or bad, but the memory of their existence can be kept alive through our words. In the end, the continuity of our words is the most enduring tool that we possess, and those words can be used to preserve our lives and the lives of those for whom we care...forever, really.

This is a terrifically sensitive story that I wish had been longer, just because Betsy Byars is such an enjoyable writer and I could read her material forever. The characters and thoughts of this story won't be quickly forgotten. I would likely give two and a half stars to Keeper of the Doves.
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04/08/2010 page 3
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