Thursday, February 9, 2012
Roam, To Come and Go like Magic, Keys to the Castle
Roam is the story of Nelson, from birth to life, and about the humans and other animals' lives he enters. He's a half beagle and half poodle with odd white markings on his face. When Katey picks him at the pet store, he becomes hers. Katey becomes his Great Love and his life would be perfect spent entirely by her side. But Nelson's nose guides him out the gate one day, and there's not much Nelson loves more than to follow a scent. Over the course of eight years, Nelson travels from New Hampshire to California. He travels back and forth with Thatcher, a truck driver. He stays in a small town to be with Lucy, a female dog looking for her Great Love. He fights off a coyote for her. He loses his leg in a terrible accident, but is cared for by the vets, and also killed in the pound. He runs to the wolves and because a member of the pack. In California, he is adopted by a father and his young son. And finally, he is reunited with Katey.
I thought Roam was an excellent personification of a dog's life as a stray. It's a realistic portrayal and does not exaggerate a bit. Roam shows how every living thing is connected. But ulimately, it's a story of how dogs love humans. My dog Maddie passed away in October. It's been lonely without her.
Other notes: I loved how Katey spelled her name. And there's a dog named Lola. I just think Lola is such a fun name. Lola, Lola. Like the song. There's also music that I didn't listen to, but would recommend anyways. I wanted to listen to it, but you need something else for it, so I didn't. But I would have if I could have! (yall knows the saying!)
Twelve year old Chileda (aka Chili) Sue Mahony has always lived in Mercy Hill, Kentucky. She loves living there, but also wants to leave, doesn't want roots. Or at least she thinks she doesn't. When Miss Matlock returns to Mercy Hill and teaches English, she really teaches geography. See, she left for a couple of years to travel the world. Welfare child, Willie Bright, and Chili often go visit Miss Matlock, esp during the summer. They learn together, but Chili has to come to her own judgments about the past, the future, leaving and letting go, or staying. Chili loses her best friends, Ginny and Prissy, but makes new ones. She even gets her first kiss and clears out a plot and plants a garden. She dances with her cousin Lenny, and goes fishing with her Uncle Lu. Everyone she knows, even the annoying boy with a crush on her and her very pregnant Aunt Mimi will teach her something over the course of the summer. And Chili will make decisions and choices that will impact whether or not she can come and go.
At it's core, To Come and Go Like Magic is a buildingsroman. The people in this book are carefully crafted and have a lot of wisdom to share. I love the way it's written in vignettes, which make is so much more beautiful. That's really what it is. A beautiful novel. I enjoyed it, because I am so much like Chili. I don't know what I want, but I think I do. I,too, want to come and go like magic. I want to travel the world. I will. I know I will. But I also have roots, and I'm not afraid to settle down in one place. Because in all of us there is a place called home.
Sara Graves was a forty-something year old workaholic when she met Daniel, a French poet. They married at settled on St. John Island, North Carolina. I want to go there; I'm in love with islands. Back to the book. Sara is deeply in love with Daniel, but three weeks after their marriage he dies in a tragic accident. He leaves her a 400 year old castle in the Loire Valley. I also want to go there. It's in France the estate is called Chateau Rondelais. Sara falls in love with it, and with the Daniel's best friend, Ash, who is a lawyer and questions her every move. Sara enjoys her time, but reality soon hits. Alyssa. Daniel's five year old daughter that Sara never knew about. When Alyssa is left alone, it is Sara who cares for her. Together Sara, Ash, and Alyssa have the chance to form their own family together. If Ash can put aside his pride and stop being so overbearing. If Sara can stop letting Daniel hurt her. If she can forgive and move on? If they can work together for Alyssa's future and the future of Rondelais.
I would say Keys to the Castle is an average book. It's what I expected it to be. I do have a few comments, though. First, I desperately want to visit the Loire Valley now. Second, the characters are realistic in this book, but are not necessarily honest. Third, I wish there was more of Daniel. I as the reader did not get a good sense of his character. Sara is such a determined woman, very much the hero of this book. Overall, this was an average book. Not special or unique but not terrible either. Hopefully, I'll be reading something a little bit better sooner.
Posted by Rachel Rooney at 1:30 PM