Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Notes: The World Before Us

by Aislinn Hunter

The truth is, this book wasn't for me. I prefer a clean read, and this was not. Apart from that, I also feel that the book description is misleading:

"Deep in the woods of northern England, somewhere between a dilapidated estate and an abandoned Victorian asylum, fifteen-year-old Jane Standen lived through a nightmare. She was babysitting a sweet young girl named Lily, and in one fleeting moment, lost her. The little girl was never found, leaving her family and Jane devastated."

Based on this, I was expecting the book to begin on the day the little girl got lost, and jump right into the action and agony. Instead, there was page after page of other characters. It wasn't clear who was talking or what was going on.

Perhaps a more accurate blurb would say something like this:

A group of ghosts haunt Jane, an archivist at a museum, hoping to find out who they used to be. Jane herself is looking for answers about two girls gone missing in the same woods, a hundred years apart.

Aislinn Hunter says that people are not comfortable with ambiguity, and it's true. I wanted an answer to the question, "What happened to the little girl?" The description spoke to me because I also have two missing girls in my life. They lived with me in foster care and the last news I had of them was six years ago. I thought the book might be cathartic, but I found it to be something else entirely.

There weren't any quotes in the book that I liked, but I did find this quote by the author about the book:

It is our present, and you saw, too, when that plane went missing, this huge phenomena of people not being able to live with ambiguity. For me, one of the things I was consciously trying to do was to raise that issue of ambiguity. Sometimes we don’t know. People go missing and we don’t find out and we have to learn how to live with that and not die ourselves, in a strange way. We live in a world where we want everything to be concrete. We need the plane to be found and we need to know what happened to it.

I received a free copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Start Somewhere

I have been watching TED talks. They are quite addictive, but better yet, they are hopeful and diverse. Tonight I watched several about architecture. My favorite was about a circular kindergarten building, so the kids can run off but they'll always be back. Then I wandered over to hear a potter share about neighborhood renewal in Chicago.

My house in my little neighborhood is very special to me. We designed it, built it, and were the first to live in it. It is mine like no other space in my life has ever been.

Thinking about all of these people doing something gives me hope. I want my whole neighborhood to be beautiful too. Tomorrow,  I am going to strew seeds from a local flower all the way from my house to our local store. I've been collecting them with no purpose in mind, but now I have one.

P.S. We have named our humble home The Castle,  per the children's request. I wanted to avoid seeming pretentious to the neighbors, but there it is. Perhaps I won't put a sign up on the gate after all. :)