I borrowed this book from my daughter’s newly organized “library”. She explained the rules, which were a little different from the ones I am used to at our local library. She knows I have a huge, almost impossible amount of books on my to-read pile, yet she insisted I take this one, and, of course, read it now. To emphasize her point, she explains her library’s rules. I have two weeks to read it (she places a post-it on the inside back cover), and I cannot return it unread to avoid the fine. If I do not finish in two weeks, I will need to keep reading, and pay the daily fine until I do. I realize for the first time that the library may not be an expression of her love for books, but rather, a new money-making scheme. I also have a vague memory that I bought this book at a library sale (for myself), at a price substantially less than the per-day fine.
Despite all this, I drop the other books I am reading, and plunge ahead. I am already a fan of Sharon Creech, having read Walk Two Moons and The Great Unexpected, with Chasing Redbird on my (other) daughter’s shelf to read. I was expecting this book to be like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, and it did remind me of that book, though I read it many years ago.
I am in a phase right now of wanting to read more “girl power” books. We are reading aloud the Betsy-Tacy books now, and, despite their age, they are more feminist than you might imagine. They make being a girl an awesome adventure. The Wanderer did this for me as well, but it was much more than that. It is balanced in the telling – split between Sophie (a girl) and her cousin Cody (a boy), two seeming misfits on the family crew that is setting sail across the ocean. This is not an easy book for a fearful child. There are treacherous seas. I was trying to think if they had even one night out on the vast ocean where they enjoyed looking at the stars, but I don’t think they did. The tale they tell, in their own words, is one fraught with secrets, fears, and lots of family drama. It is harrowing, and sweet, and everything you want to read in an adventure across the ocean.
And, since I’m sure you are wondering; I returned the book early, no fines, a satisfied customer.