The kidnappers are actually her Aunt Sandy and Uncle Max, but that doesn't matter to Domenica Santolina Doone, better known as Dinnie. She feels as if she's being taken out of the country against her will. Certainly no one asked her opinion. Dinnie is used to change—with her family constantly moving from state to state while her father searches for one new "opportunity" after another. But when her aunt and uncle whisk her away to an international school in Lugano, Switzerland, Dinnie feels that this might be one "opportunity" that isn't right for her.
Suddenly Dinnie's surrounded by kids from many different cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. Home, and her first life, seem so far away. Can she adapt to a new country, a new home, and new friends? Or will it just be easier to close herself off—just survive—and never realize all the "bloomabilities" that are possible?
I was born in South Euclid, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, and grew up there with my noisy and rowdy family: my parents (Ann and Arvel), my sister (Sandy), and my three brothers (Dennis, Doug and Tom).
For a fictional view of what it was like growing up in my family, see Absolutely Normal Chaos. (In that book, the brothers even have the same names as my own brothers.) Our house was not only full of us Creeches, but also full of friends and visiting relatives.
In the summer, we usually took a trip, all of us piled in a car and heading out to Wisconsin or Michigan or, once, to Idaho. We must have been a very noisy bunch, and I'm not sure how our parents put up with being cooped up with us in the car for those trips. The five-day trip out to Idaho when I was twelve had a powerful effect on me: what a huge and amazing country! I had no idea then that thirty-some years later, I would recreate that trip in a book called Walk Two Moons.
One other place we often visited was Quincy, Kentucky, where my cousins lived (and still live) on a beautiful farm, with hills and trees and swimming hole and barn and hayloft. We were outside running in those hills all day long, and at night we'd gather on the porch where more stories would be told. I loved Quincy so much that it has found its way into many of my books—transformed into Bybanks, Kentucky. Bybanks appears in Walk Two Moons, Chasing Redbird, and Bloomability. Bybanks also makes a brief appearance (by reference, but not by name) in The Wanderer.
When I was young, I wanted to be many things when I grew up: a painter, an ice skater, a singer, a teacher, and a reporter. It soon became apparent that I had little drawing talent, very limited tolerance for falling on ice, and absolutely no ability to stay on key while singing. I also soon learned that I would make a terrible reporter because when I didn't like the facts, I changed them. It was in college, when I took literature and writing courses, that I became intrigued by story-telling. Later, I was a teacher (high school English and writing) in England and in Switzerland. While teaching great literature, I learned so much about writing: about what makes a story interesting and about techniques of plot and characterization and point of view. I started out writing novels for adults (published as Sharon Rigg): The Recital and Nickel Malley were both written and published while I was living in England (these books were published in England only and are now out of print.) But the next book was Absolutely Normal Chaos, and ever since that book I have written mainly about young people. Walk Two Moons was the first of my books to be published in America. When it received the Newbery Medal, no one was more surprised than I was. I'm still a little bit in shock.
After Walk Two Moons came Chasing Redbird, Pleasing the Ghost, Bloomability, The Wanderer, and Fishing in the Air. I hope to be writing stories for a long, long time.
I am married to Lyle Rigg, who is the headmaster of The Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey, and have two grown children, Rob and Karin. Being with my family is what I enjoy most. The next-best thing is writing stories.
For every person, there are books that you read that completely shape your life or push your life in a certain direction. For me, this is one of those books.
I first read this book in seventh grade on a whim. I had to read Walk Two Moons in another class the previous year, so I recognized the author's name and decided to give it a chance. To this day, I am glad that I did.
This is the book that inspired me to want to go to Italy, travel in general, and learn Italian, as well as many other languages, and quite possibly the book that inspired my love for words overall. I only ever read the book once, but I gave my boyfriend a full run-down of the plot the other day, almost ten years later. This book has stuck out in my mind since the moment I read it and I'm sorry to say that I don't own a copy. Definitely a re-read book, especially since it had such a profound effect on me as a person.
I love this book. I first read it in the summer before seventh grade, a time when I was extremely uncomfortable in my skin and was about to be the New Girl for the fifth time. From the second I began reading this, I had an amazing boost of confidence. Dinnie Doone, the main character of Bloomability, is a quiet, shy girl from an extremely unstable family. She has been moved around from state to state for her entire life because her father can't hold down a job; her sixteen-year-old sister is pregnant after a spur-of-the-moment marriage to a Marine; her brother is in jail for stealing a car at fifteen. Dinnie seems to have everything going against her, until her mother makes a secret plan for her wealthy sister and her husband to take Dinnie to live with them in Switzerland. There, Dinnie attends an American boarding school, where her uncle is the headmaster and her aunt teaches English. Dinnie, struggling with homesickness, insecurity, and adjusting to international life, begins to learn more about herself and how taking advantage of opportunities can change your life.
Once again, I absolutely love this book. It definitely has the lowest reading level out of all of the books on my shelf, but it is also one of the most meaningful to me. It represents change and growth, adjustment and coping. You can definitely learn many a lesson in this short little novel. Every couple of years I reread it, and I always get something new from it. I don't care if you are in the second grade or are about to graduate; everyone should read this book. It has inspired me to write more, to travel, and to try to grow as a person in general. It teaches you to never look a gift horse in the mouth, to approach every new situation with optimism and hope. I could go on for days about it. Read it. That's all I'm going to say.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
reading this is like taking a clean sheet of paper and crushing it into a crumpled ball, and opening it, and crumpling it, a few more times for good measure, and finally teasing it apart to gently brush it flat again, only it never will lay flat again, it’s worn, and creased, and there are stretches in it’s grain that can never be undone. and you are the paper. and now you don’t know what to do with yourself.
Dominica is a kind girl that travels with her mom, dad, sister Stella, and brother Crick until Stella had a baby and she was kidnapped! Where did she leave to? That’s a mystery. I really loved that Dominica could make friends so easily! She would walk into a school with no friends and walk out with 20! The only think I didn’t like about this book was the fact that Dominica had to leave her magical life to go back to the USA! This book is perfect for anyone from the ages 9-17 it is amazing.
Bloomability is the story of 13-year-old Dinnie who's "kidnapped" by her Uncle Max and Aunt Sandy after her older sister unexpectedly has a baby. You see, Dinnie hasn't led a normal life. Her family travels whenever and where ever her father finds another "opportunity." They live a nomadic lifestyle, never staying in the same town for very long.
For Dinnie that changes when Uncle Max and Aunt Sandy, who Dinnie barely knows, whisks her away to boarding school in Switzerland. Uncle Max has just taken the job as the headmister of a small boarding school in Lugano.
Beneath the alps, Dinnie finally begins to bloom. This book is a sweet coming of age story about a girl who doesn't quite know who she is. She's "adaptable" because she's moved so much. In each new town she has to figure out the school, the town and the social structure. But she's never really taken time to discover Dinnie. In Switzerland, the first place where she'll actually complete a whole school year, she finally has the opportunity to figure out herself.
There are just so many delightful touches in this book. From Dinnie's misspelled Italian signs claiming she's been kidnapped, to the dreams of Domenica Santolina Doone, to Dinnie's obsession with "suffering" to make her a better person, it's just a fun book to read.
For girls just bridging from middle grade to young adult, this book is perfect. It brushes against some real issues--from first crush, to friendships, to poverty--not really tackling them, just bringing them into the story in a tactful but meaningful way.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the delightful Mandy Siegfried (my current narrator obsession). Of course I must admit that I'm pretty much automatically biased for this book because I spent 3 months in Switzerland. But aside from my love of all things Swiss, this book is endearing in it's own right and worth reading.
I love books with a plot that takes you on a roller coaster trip, not knowing what to expect and one that keeps you turning the pages and not wanting to put the book down. This book is not one of those books. This book has a plot like "It's a Small World"...it really doesn't take the reader anywhere exciting and then it ends. I listened to this book on CD. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice little story about a girl who experiences a life changing "opportunity" attending an American School in Switzerland. It just doesn't have any kind of dilemma or conflict that made me want to stay up late reading.
I've loved other books by Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons, Absolutely Normal Chaos) and was happy when my children's-literature book group picked this book, because I've wanted to read it for a long time. Swiss boarding school! Need I say more?
This book, guys. This was one of the defining books of my childhood. (And all thanks to a random box of hand-me-down books from my cousin.) I don't have a lot to say about it. I reread it during my trip to Myanmar, and the memories and the longing for wanting to keep everything you loved close to you, and the acknowledgement that you can't, and all the beautiful phrasing just... I can't really explain the feeling. It's not my favorite example of healthy relationships between sexes, especially for young ages. But I can overlook it, as it's not constant and it would make a good conversation topic for my (future) kids. And overall, I actually like their relationships. But I won't go into that. I love this book. And now that it's attached to this trip, I'll love it forever.
2019: Ahhhh. This is a book I wanna read to my best friend on a road trip someday. It's one of my favorite books ever. Everever. Bless up.
I first read this book in middle school, and over ten years later I still find it as refreshing as the first time I read it. The story of Domenica Santolina Doone is an engaging one. Preferring to be called Dinnie, she is whisked away to Lagano, Switzerland where she goes to an American boarding school where her uncle and aunt are headmasters of. At first opposed to the change, Dinnie is challenged and reshaped in this coming of age story. Her relationships resonate to the reader as they see the strengths and pitfalls of the characters within themselves. A quick simple read, it is a great read for fifth grade and above, but is timeless for any interested reader. It is, for me, the favorite of all of Creech's works, even surpassing the Newbury Award Winning "Walk Two Moons."
I guess this was an okay book but I am not really sure what it was about. After 100 pages or so, I started skipping pages. There was no story, no climax, no conflict. The girl moves to Europe for a while, makes some friends and then moves back with her family. I guess for someone who never traveled anywhere, this book would be charming. For me, not so much. I lived in Europe awhile and know what a pain it is. People just don’t realize how lucky they are living in US.
Dinnie's story is heartbreaking. She doesn't realize how difficult her home life is until things blow up around her. Now her aunt and her uncle have taken her away, to a school in Switzerland where the world has literally opened to her. But she only wants to go home.
How Dinnie learns to bloom where she is planted is a beautiful story, one which resonated deeply. We don't always have a lot of choice about the life we're leading. We do have a choice in what we do with that life though.
I liked Dinnie a lot and wish like crazy there was a sequel to this book. I want to know what happens to Dinnie next in life. I can't help but think she's going to have an amazing life. This was a great book, which I really enjoyed reading!
Dinnie has been on the move her entire life, constantly going with her family towards their next "opportunity". Then she gets an opportunity completely of her own, to go with her aunt and uncle to a school in Switzerland. At first she is terrified, but soon finds out opportunities are all around, as long as you're willing to be bloomable.
This was technically a reread for me, as I read it in either late elementary or early middle school. However, this reading brought me into a deeper love for Dinnie's experiences, a true understanding of her fears, and the excitement of realizing my own "bloomabilities".
This was the newest Sharon Creech book available when I was reading her books as a middle schooler. I didn't love it then and I didn't love it on the re-read. Dinnie was a strong character with an interesting backstory, but she was such a passive character. Things happened to her and she just reacted to them. We get little tidbits about Dinnie's family and new friends, but they are never fleshed out as characters. There wasn't much of a plot- she goes away to school and the school year progresses. She reacts to the events around her. Walk Two Moons and Chasing Redbird both had strong heroines who went on both inner and outer journeys where they grew and changed. I felt like Bloomability was poised to be the same and the plot just fizzled instead.
When I was twelve, I read this book at least five times. Recently, as an adult, I picked it up again, wondering if I would still consider it good. I was able to understand more of it as an adult, and critique it differently. As a kid, I knew Dinnie's family was going through a lot, and I got that her aunt and uncle convinced her mom to let her be in a different environment. I got the story, but I wouldn't say I -got- it until I was an adult.
Dinnie wasn't written as a naive thirteen-year-old. She was written as a terrified five-year-old, right down to word choices, right until the plane lands in Switzerland, where she is immediately, mysteriously bitten by the teenage virus. She describes things the way a purple-prose adult would, and it's jarring. There's a time and place for that, which is not this book. This book does also read quite a bit as "I see this setting. Look at how worldly I am." Leila was the most realistic, developed character. I disliked her immensely. Dinnie's siblings and home life are walking cliches, and the fact that her father tends not to hold down jobs for longer than six months--describes me, but for different reasons, and it is a huge reason why I won't start a family. Yes, I am judging the dad and siding with the mom's relatives. The fact that her home and family life is a sole chapter in a relatively thick book makes me think the author sneezed it at her audience so she could rush to her dream vacation of Switzerland for the rest of the book. The climax and honestly, only interesting part of the book, was jammed into the last sixty pages and so, so out of place. Such a severe situation should've been treated entirely differently. The book had a weak ending. At least I read it again. I know this is intended for children, but it's all over the place in terms of tone, voice and pacing.
This book was really cute. It's about a girl, Dinnie, who has moved around all her life (12 times in her 12 years) and doesn't really know what the concept of "home" means, you know? So her two older siblings are starting to get into some mischief (each in their own way), so her parents send her to live with her aunt and uncle for the school year. In Switzerland. So in this area of Switzerland, where she attends an "American" school, she has to learn Italian and meet a lot of new people from all over the world (Spain, Japan, India, Korea, Italy, France, etc.)
Dinnie isn't a super-active main character, she mostly is nice and quiet and observes people around her. And I think there is a very stark contrast drawn between two of her friends, Lila and Guthrie. And what I draw from it is that we should look on the bright side — look for the good and positive things around you and enjoy life, rather than only noticing the bad/negative things and complaining all the time. What a great message about being optimistic!
Other themes that ran through the book that I thought were great were how all of these kids at the school look different, speak different languages, are from different parts of the world, and yet they all have things in common — have something in common with middle-schoolers EVERYWHERE... And that is that they are worried about fitting in and having friends and being happy, you know? And it doesn't matter what you APPEAR to be — what is on the surface is not always the way things really are. You can't judge what someone is truly like by the way they look. That was a lovely message.
This semester, in my reading class, our teacher asks us to read this book called Bloomability which is written by Sharon Creech,the main character called Dinnie, in my mind, Dinnie maybe is a real people in the real life. I mean there must be someone who living in this word just like Dinnie.And this book is talking about three period life time of Dinnie. the first period life is Dinnie with her family, the second period life is talking about after Dinnie going to swizerland. the third period life is begin at the end of the life.And i think Dinnie is a girl with a wealth of ideas, but she never say it out, you should read it, it show out the Dinnie's change from her childhood, teenager period and to be a mature girl.maybe it can remind your memory of your growing experience. I love read this book but I don't like the ending of this book, I hope Dinnie can get together with the people she love. So i give 4 star to this book. the writting style of this book is my favorite. it is not funny or anything else. i don't know why the style make me can feel the sad and happiness of the main character.Anyway, it is a good book to record a change of a girl~!
so I refer to 2019 Hannah to truly explain what it feels like to read this book, bc she actually nailed it
But to get with the times: a tiny, interesting thing I loved about this read is that....we don't get the ending. the story is here for a brief window of time in Dinnie's life, it tells what is has to tell & teaches what it hast to teach, and then it passes on. Numerous characters are left with their plot threads dangling off the edge. We don't know how it ends, how Dinnie grows up, if she gets back to Switzerland, what EVEN is going on with Lila...etc etc.
And though I am sad--deeply saddened by a lot of things (broken relationships with parents, friends)--I am satisfied. I don't need to know more. I heard the message, watched Dinnie struggle, & both the story & I seem to feel that it has done it's duty. I feel privileged--to have seen and participated in this sliver of Dinnie.
"Thank you, thank you. Now quick! Go! To show the story & to tell the tale! To someone else. Farewell."
Yes, I wish Dinnie well. Now: off. To the celebration of being alive. 📚🧡
I totally enjoyed this book. I liked how, despite a rather haphazard family life, there is still a lot of love. In many ways 13 year-old Dinnie reminded me of myself at that age. Not in the moving around part, but the way she experienced her inner self. On the inside she felt isolated in a bubble, she felt insecure. She's an observer who doesn't make friends easily. On the outside, though, the face she presents to the world, is very likable. She's basically a good girl trying to do what's right. Her journey, more than just going to Switzerland, is coming to understand that she can expand her bubble and let more of the outside nature in and let more of her inside nature out. How she gets there is what the story is all about. Delightful.
I gave it a four stars only because sometimes conversations between the kids seemed too mature, too adult. Maybe there are 13 year-olds who talk like that, having deep, meaningful thoughts, but I certainly didn't when I was that age.
I love Sharon Creech but this book was not my favorite. I feel like it was missing her signature family dynamics. I did like the setting in Switzerland at an American school. I found Dinny a likeable character I just felt she was a little bland. Still a quick read and I think actual middle graders would like this more than adults.
This is a really good book about a girl that get taken by her Aunt and Uncle to Switzerland (she has lived in America her whole life). The book is about her time that she has in Switzerland (in a really weird school), about her friends and lots more.
I loved this book. I didn't know much about it. I had listened to Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, which was a Newbery book, but it was sad, so I was a little worried about this one. (I'm all about happy endings.) This book grabbed me from the beginning, and never let go. It was a beautiful story about a girl growing and learning. Her story was only a year, but I still loved watching her transform. There were some great lessons about people. My sister might accuse Creech of telling us too much what the lessons were instead of writing the story in a way that we got it on our own, but I felt that the way she wove them into the story was well done.
When I was nearing the end of the story that I noticed that she didn't talk abut computers/email or cell phones. Then I remembered that it was written in 1998. I didn't miss the "modern technology" at all -- although, it could make this a more difficult book for a modern teen to relate to. (What a difference 20 years makes...)
I'd read this long ago when I was in middle school but couldn't remember much about it. On this second read, I can confidently say it's a lovely book for young readers (and older) to explore the themes of adventure, living abroad, and the complicated feelings that arise. As some one who has both studied and worked abroad, I felt this novel adequately captures the constant feeling of possibilities (or bloomabilities) that lie with every new day in a different place. Even the most mundane can feel exciting. I hope this book inspires new readers to widen their views of life and explore all the opportunities in front of them. Be it a new class, grade, school, city, or country - there are always choices for us to make and ways for us to change the course of our lives.
There's nothing like revisiting a Sharon Creech book to recenter yourself.
This one isn't as deeply embedded in my memory as Walk Two Moons and The Wanderer, nor does it pack as hard of an emotional punch, but I think it might be the ideal Creech to revisit as an adult. Bloomability reminds you of the power of possibility - the terrifying and thrilling feeling of standing at a precipice. I found myself dreaming bigger as I read this book. And considering what it means to feel truly free - to be bloomable.