Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wild Girls Review

Book talk: Before Joan moved to California she only read stories.  After she moved to California, Joan began to live them.  It all started when she was exploring in the woods near her house and she found what looked like a troll's living room.  It turned out that it belonged to a girl named Sarah who called herself the Queen of Foxes.  Joan soon became newt in turn and newt and fox explored secret grottoes, defended their fort from invaders, and hid in the woods.  Their real life mixed with a fantasy life and they turned their story in to a writing competition.  But eventually they had to return to reality, and the cold hard truths they could not avoid.

Rocks my socks: I would have loved to have been friends with these girls when I was their age!  As it was my friends and I came up with some pretty elaborate fantasies playing in the park on my street.  Reading this novel took me back on a pleasant trip to those days and many readers their age will be able to easily relate.  The novel is set in the early 70s and they go to Berkeley at one point, which was amusing to read about as well.    The novel could have just stayed at this level and been enjoyable but it goes beyond that.  Fox's mother left her when she was a child and Joan's parents are separated by the end of the novel.  It deals with both of these family situations with compassion and thoughtfulness and doesn't try to provide any easy answers, which I liked.  I also appreciated how the characters got to know their parents better and understand them and their motives and that they had lives before they were born. Plus, they bond over throwing rocks at boys and write stories where they save themselves without any princes needing to intervene, what's not to love?

Rocks in my socks: "'She's a librarian,' Fox said, as if being a librarian were a crime."  Clearly this line was meant as a personal affront to me and I took it as such.  At least it gave me something to put in this section because otherwise it would be blank.

Every book its reader: This would be a great book to read at the beginning of a unit on writing.  Fox's dad is a science fiction author and both girls end up taking a class on writing with a great teacher and so a lot about the craft is mentioned in the novel.  Anyone with a lot of imagination and especially those who try to hold on to it when their peers are trying to look more grown up will enjoy this book.  Fifth grade and up.

Bonus quotes: 
"The tough thing about being a mockingbird is figuring out your own song...Too many songs to sing.  How do you know which one is your own?"

"Any liar can make things up.  But a good writer is more than just a clever liar.  A good writer tells the truth by telling lies."

The Wild Girls  by Pat Murphy

Buy it or check it out today!

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