Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chapter 27: Oh, the hair!

But first, a bit of insight into Marilla's thought process:
"Marilla was not given to subjective analysis of her thoughts and feelings. She probably imagined that she was thinking about the Aids and their missionary box and the new carpet for the vestry room, but under these reflections was a harmonious consciousness of red fields smoking into pale-purply mists in the declining sun, of long, sharp-pointed fir shadows falling over the meadow beyond the brook, of still, crimson-budded maples around a mirrorlike wood pool, of a wakening in the world and a stir of hidden pulses under the gray sod."
And, while we're at it, Matthew's:
"Matthew, who, being patient and wise and, above all, hungry, had deemed it best to let Marilla talk her wrath out unhindered, having learned by experience that she got through with whatever work was on hand much quicker if not delayed by untimely argument"
That aside, let's talk about the disaster that results when Anne tries to dye her hair black:
"Green it might be called, if it were any earthly color—a queer, dull, bronzy green, with streaks here and there of the original red to heighten the ghastly effect. Never in all her life had Marilla seen anything so grotesque as Anne's hair at that moment."
(For the record, when I was just a bit older than Anne, I dyed my brown hair reddish-brown. It wasn't actually a big change from my natural color. But I was sure the box said that the dye washed out after 6 weeks. Which it did not. And as my hair started to grow out, the difference between the two colors was just substantial enough that I spent several months with a subtle stripe across the back of my head.)

Oh, wait, it's an excuse for Marilla's xenophobia to make another appearance:
"Anne Shirley, how often have I told you never to let one of those Italians in the house! I don't believe in encouraging them to come around at all."
"Besides, he wasn't an Italian—he was a German Jew. He had a big box full of very interesting things and he told me he was working hard to make enough money to bring his wife and children out from Germany."
Onward, Anne, even without your formerly lovely long hair.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tidbit: Crow

Crow, Barbara Wright. (Random House, 1/10/12)

A common complaint in the kidlit world: historical fiction with African-American characters is pretty much slavery and the civil rights movement, with very little attention paid to the century in between.

Attention is being paid, and it's worth it.

The main character here is a generation removed from slavery -- it's hardly forgotten, but it's not what defines him. We've got issues of upward mobility, the clash between tradition and modernity, and the post-Reconstruction backlash.

(ARC provided by publisher.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tidbit: Bigger than a Breadbox

Bigger than a Breadbox, Laurel Snyder. (Random House, 9/27/11)

This is not a review. It's totally an endorsement. And a biased one, because not only is Laurel a fabulous person1, she's one of the few Twitter/blogging/online friends I've actually met.

That said: This is an excellent book. The story moves along, things are developing, there's all kinds of complexity -- and then there's a didn't-see-that-coming emotional punch at the end.2

(Advance copy provided by publisher.)

1 Bonus points to everyone who caught the Troop Beverley Hills reference there.
2 And I am not easily impressed by endings. Ask me sometime about The Usual Suspects.