Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Jane: Book review
The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown is this year's All Iowa Reads book. I just read it and have that bittersweet feeling about finishing a book--I could hardly put it down as I was reading, but am sorry to be done because it was such a "serious pleasure" (words from a blurb on the back) to read.
It's a coming-of-age book about a girl in contemporary New England. The story begins on her 10th birthday when she meets two people whose lives become entwined with hers: Theo, an African American boy her age (his mom is white, dad is black), and Kenneth, an ailing artist who came back to the small town.
The people in the book are richly and complexly drawn--Alice's dad, a college professor and widower who loves his big family; Alice's 5 brothers (some drawn more carefully than others); Elizabeth, the family's housekeeper and Alice's "babysitter." And of course sensitive, artistic Alice; hyper, brainy Theo; and Kenneth who is looking for rest and maybe redeption through the two children.
The writing itself in this book is wonderful--every sentence full of detail beautifully rendered. And the closely-observed details of the summer Alice, Theo, and Kenneth spend together are not random details, but symbolic and meaningful.
Let me know if you decide to read it! I'm wondering if there will be Iowa Reads activities with this book. Our Linn Area Reads activities (linked to Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas, which I reviewed here earlier) are in full swing.