Juvenile historical fiction
These days a 12-year-old girl wishing to contact a cousin she
has been prevented from meeting by family dynamics would do so simply
and quickly by using the Internet. Back in the 1920's, though, that
was so not an option. A lot of people, particularly in rural areas
lacked not only computers with Internet connections, which had not
been invented, but plain old land line phones.
Arie Mae, narrator of Frances O'Roark Dowell's Anybody Shining
is a very lonely 12-year-old girl. Her siblings have chums But there
is no one for her. In her words,
"This morning I told Mama how I might have to run away and marry
a bear if I don't find someone to call my own true friend. Those
mountains are near to spilling over with children, and none of them is
worth two cents. They are all too old or too young or just plain
Reading that first paragrph, you know anyone as spunky as Arie
Mae isn't about to give up. She does have some ideas. She has a city
dwelling cousin she has never met due to the estragement of her mother
and aunt. She is sure that mail correspondence will lead to visiting
and friendship. The book, in fact, is a series of letters she writes
very eloquently to this mysterious girl. Then there are some people
coming all the way from Baltimore for a month. Maybe they'll have kids.
Anybody Shining is a very luminescent novel to transport our
children back to a time before Facebook, Google, or even
television...a time when many beautiful and useful items were crafted
by artisans rather than mass produced...a time when parents and
children would eagerly anticipate a barn dance with local fiddlers.
On a personal note, a number of community gardeners still appreciate
fiddle music and square dancing, your hopefully favorite book reviewer
A great big shout out goes out to all who help keep the old customs
and arts alive.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod