Friday, August 23, 2013

The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Book Review)

Author: Elizabeth George Speare
Year: 1958
Genre: Historical fiction

Reading Level: Young Adult

Literary Awards: Newbery Medal (1959)

Plot Summary: After the death of her grandfather and guardian, Kit Tyler leaves the sunny shores of Barbados for a small settlement in Connecticut.  There she joins her only remaining relatives and struggles to fit in their strict Puritan society.  When she meets a lonely widow living near Blackbird Pond, she finally feels at home, but their friendship may cause more harm than good when the townspeople discover it.
Red Flags: Prejudice, a long winter

My Rating: B+
I first read this back in fourth grade, and didn't really like it (I don't remember why).  Lately I started thinking I ought to reread it, since I didn't always have the best taste as a fourth grader.  And yet...I still never really got into it the second time around.  I know, I know, it's a classic, it's a Newbery winner, it's historical.  These are all good reasons to like this book, and while I do think it's a good book, it didn't wholly win me over.  

But like I said, I think it's a good book.  It's well written, it has a lot of historical information and the time and setting are vivid.  So my feelings have more to do with my own preferences and less to do with any technical flaws.  Though I must admit, I didn't really like Kit.  I wish I had rooted for her more.  This is also one of those books that make me wonder if it would have been published today, just because these days books have so many more constraints from publishers.  By that I mean things like plot development, length, etc.--Lord of the Rings is another book like this.  Just something I wondered about. 

Anyway, it's a book worth reading, if only for the historical setting.  I have a soft spot for things about America in its pre-United States days (see also: The New World, anything by James Fenimore Cooper) so I enjoyed that aspect a lot.  I just wanted a little more oomph from the story. 

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:08 AM

    It's interesting to know your opinion on this book.
    I loved this novel when I first read it.
    Thanks for the nice review!