Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Fully Deserving of the Honor

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly
(Women or Girls, Adult or Nearly So or Wanting to Be)

This book was a Newberry Honor Award for 2010 and for the life of me, I simply cannot figure out why it didn't win the whole blamed thing.  I pride myself on reading as many of the Honor and Award Winners as I can and this one is the best of the books for several years.

The story involves a young girl named Calpurnia Tate (Callie Vee, because her name is just too atrocious).  Callie lives smack in the middle of a family of 7, with her being the only daughter.  Her family is rather well off and lives on a pecan plantation in Texas.  The book takes place in the year 1899 and revolves around the relationship between Callie and her grandfather.  Captain Tate has always lived with the family but has never really been one of them, interested instead in his own interests--Darwin, reading, study.  All things that a proper young girl of 1899 should not be interested in.

Callie is a girl after my own heart.  She doesn't quite fit in but knows exactly what she wants--something that isn't deemed suitable.  She chafes and groans at the ideas of womanhood, all sewing and cooking and cleaning.  Callie isn't one of 'those girls'.  She wants to be her own kind of person. 

The story is beautifully told and just drips that sweet charm that only a southern book can.  Callie's relationship with her grandfather is touching; with her brothers, hilarious; with her mother, strained; and with the world around her, full of wonder.

I highly recommend this book for young girls and young women.  It is a great lesson in those very things that we still struggle with today but is done in a way that is both tender and honest.  It is a story that, once finished, will stay with you like a good memory.  For me, she has joined the ranks of my other bestest literary friends--Anne of Green Gables and Pippi Longstockings.

In conclusion, a quote from the book..."Ahhh.  Bed, book, kitten, sandwich.  All one needed in life, really."  Especially if the book were this one.

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