Thursday, May 07, 2009

Christianne's Novel Knickers, and Darby plunges into new waters

Had a completely fabulous time at Christianne's Lyceum last night, chatting with the Novel Knickers (and a few Knicker Parents, too)!

We held a very thorough and wide-ranging discussion, encompassing history, writing, reading and punctuated with extraordinary food and truly appalling pictionary. I loved every minute -- thanks for having me, Christianne!

The best part of the night was hearing Maddy Richardson's incredibly perceptive and carefully written book review of A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW. Maddy starts with a summary of the novel and then moves on to her thoughts. With her permission, here it is:

A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is about a girl named Darby who is sent away to live with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island for a summer. At first she is mad that she has to stay in a little old town instead of her amazing home in Toronto, though I suspect her irritation really was because she suspected that her parents were planning a divorce and needed her out of the house. Anyway, she goes to PEI to spend the summer with grandparents she doesn't know. Her Nan is strong and kind, but her Gramps is on the verge of losing all reality and this makes Darby's journey all the more lonely.

One thing leads to another and she meets a boy named Gabriel who leads her through a window that takes her to different times and places. Gabriel actus as a kind of guide in teh sci-fi part of the novel, and it seems his role is to 'open her eyes' in more ways than one. In the end, Darby grows up in ways she never expected and never could have imagined.

I think that the book was amaing and led me on terrific adventures. I liked the fact that Darby was an avid writer -- it was a good contrast to the 'skateboarder' stereotype she seemed to like to associate herself with. The book described Nan as a strong, maybe even a hard person, but I get the feeling that she had a huge heart, but was too protective to show it.

I give this book an 8.5 out of 10. It did not get a full 10 because I found myself confused in some parts. I didn't understand why Darby didn't play with Fiona's gift more than once and why when she went on her first journey there was all of the white mist. It never really made sense and I kept expecting the fog to relate back to something. Finally , Gramps was an amazingly strong person for someone with Alzheimer's but I found it sad to see him losing his sense of reality. But for all the confusion, I was very curious and this was a really good read.

Thank you, Maddy!

And you know, the best thing about being face-to-face with one's (very brave) reviewer is the opportunity to talk about the story --about the concepts of metaphor and imagery, and how they help a story to unfold. It was a real treat to meet Maddy and all the Novel Knickers -- and the Inuksuk brownies were amazing!

One final note: If you hie on over to Darby Speaks, you'll find she and Maurice have embarked on a new adventure -- interviewing characters from other novels. If you'd like to win one of Lee Fodi's Kendra Kandlestar books, or if you'd like to suggest a character for future interview, leave a comment!


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