From the North Atlantic to the Prairie…

February 17, 2010

Dear Blue,

I’m sure you’ve noticed me sneaking upstairs occasionally in the daytime to read a bit more of this book and have perhaps felt a twing of jealousy that I get to read a bit in the daylight without you. But that should tell you that my frustration with The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by is ebbing some. The plot has thickened and Joe Smallwood has finally piqued my interest. He has become less of a caricature of a person with an absolute moral compass and more of a figure of shifting panels of nebulous morality that try to stay aligned with his original dreams. Perhaps it is because he isn’t young anymore and that complexity is part of the process of growing up. Physically, he reminds me a boy I once knew and so it is easy for me to imagine him while I read.

Fielding is a very satisfying contrast to Smallwood. She begins our story with somewhat shifty and nebulous morals and is now trying to clean up her life and figure out who she is and what she truly believes. She is fascinating and I find myself yearnng for the chapters about her. The dance of the two of them, Fielding and Smallwood, around each other, and around the increasingly powerful character of Newfoundland itself, is growing more interesting and believable. I have been putting in more time with this tome and hope to have it completed by next week’s blog. Stay tuned…

And Blue, you’ve also accompanied me to the girls’ bedroom at night so I can read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder to them before bed. I read it so long ago and it surprised me how much of the story I have to explain to them: what a covered wagon is, why the Jack the bulldog walks under the wagon the whole way, why they had to take a raft across the Missouri, why Pa needs a gun. We stop often to talk about the story, but I think they are enjoying it so far.

We tried to read the 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers last month, but it was just over their heads and too weird so we stopped. They enjoyed Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (Ill. by the delightful Lauren Child) before Christmas. I’m hoping Little House will be a better fit. I really loved those books when I was young and am enjoying the reread with the girls now.

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