Antof9's Reviews > Roller Skates

Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2010-read, americana, charming, made-me-cry, read-the-newberys

A good book is a good book. Doesn't matter who the intended audience is!

I read this as part of our "Read the Newberys Project" (up to 1937 now!), and wasn't disappointed at all. In fact, it was a great book to follow "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle", which I was thoroughly annoyed with. It's just fascinating to me how a good book draws me in, and the "target" age is totally meaningless.

It's interesting to me that in the Newbery lexicon, this follows "Caddie Woodlawn" and "Invincible Louisa" so closely. It's as if the Newbury committee knew they needed to get some "girl" books out there. Not that this one is girlie at all, but Lucinda as the primary character is well, obviously a girl :)

It's a charming book about a 10-year old girl whose parents go to Europe for a year (for the mom's health). She's the youngest in the family with 3 much older brothers, and we really don't know much about the family until the very end. The family is superfluous though - they're only in the story to be absent, because this is the year of her freedom. She considers herself in an orphanage, and spends the whole year doing things her mom, and certainly Great Aunt Emily, wouldn't have approved of. She makes friends with the family who runs a fruitstand, a homeless person (or 2), the Central Park policeman (and later bribes him w/ candy!), a hansom cab driver (and his wife!), theatre people, and more. It's fab.

One of the reasons I like Lucinda so much is she and I are kindred spirits. Bonus? I never heard anyone describe it this way before, but it's me! When Lucinda first meets Tony at the fruitstand, some thugs have just stolen some fruit from him. In helping to pick it up:
"I call that mean. Two against one and stealing, I call that mean! Jumping Jupiter, I wish Patrolman M'Gonegal had this beat! He'd lick 'em good."

Lucinda was using her best street vernacular. Like Nature in Thanatopsis she spoke a various language and used it unfailingly.


You can't read this book and miss how roller skates get out wild energy, allow Lucinda freedom, and more. I loved her roller skate theology: Isn't it elegant not to have tantrums any more! I guess half of it is because you don't expect them; and the other half is roller skates. They use up a lot of energy and iron out a lot of feelings. ... they ought to be called 'the mother's friend.'

I like that there are some subtle things in this book that would speak to a young girl's heart when reading this. When Lucinda is asked to be a bridesmaid in a wedding, she asks the bride why she'd pick her because she's "homely as two toads, and the other girls are so pretty". The bride says, "You'll look perfectly elegant too, Lucinda. You're so alive and interesting - don't you think that's better than just being pretty?"

I like that :)

There's more I could say about this charming book -- it really did enchant me, and there are also some heavy parts in it. But I'll leave it at a very high 4 stars (wish there were halves to give), and recommend it to pretty much anyone.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 1, 2010 – Finished Reading
July 13, 2010 – Shelved
July 13, 2010 – Shelved as: 2010-read
July 13, 2010 – Shelved as: americana
July 13, 2010 – Shelved as: charming
July 13, 2010 – Shelved as: made-me-cry
July 13, 2010 – Shelved as: read-the-newberys

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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Deena I'm very fond of the sequel to this one...


Antof9 You know how after you write a review, Goodreads asks you which of your friends you'd recommend it to? Of course, I almost clicked on your icon, and then I was like, "duh ... she's read THIS!"

There's a sequel?


Deena LOL - in this case, I have, but sometimes you never know. I didn't read any Maud Hart Lovelace until I was an adult.
The sequel is called The Year of Jubilo, and I actually preferred it. I was just scrounging about for my copy, but I think I already donated it to something or other...


Antof9 How is it possible my library doesn't have that book?! Boo!


Deena Antof9 wrote: "How is it possible my library doesn't have that book?! Boo!"

Seems to be out of print as well. I'm not surprised, really - such things are out of fashion. No vampires! Probably your library sold their copy years ago. Can they do inter-library loan of any kind?


Antof9 They do do interlibrary loans, but the book doesn't come up at all! I am so shocked and angry!


Deena Antof9 wrote: "They do do interlibrary loans, but the book doesn't come up at all! I am so shocked and angry!"

I'll keep my eye out for it for you. I know my own copy is gone, but I was planning a trip to the usb this week any way.


Antof9 Thanks friend!


Deena Well, since it is my fault you know about it, the least I can do is help find it!!


Antof9 awwwww :) Thanks!


Antof9 Deenbat wrote:
Seems to be out of print as well. I'm not surprised, really - such things are out of fashion.


It's funny because after reading this, I thought "people should read this!"


Deena It's funny because after reading this, I thought "people should read this!""

It's amazing how much staying power some of these older titles really have, so yes, it is a shame when they fall out of favor.


Antof9 Totally. Boo.


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