Thursday, June 11, 2009

May 31, 09 A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Hi Readers,

I am now going to write now that my stomach is full of hummus. Om. Anyways, I read this amaztastic book called A Northern Light the last day of May.

A Northern Light (ANL) is about a sixteen year old girl named Mattie Gokey who lives in 1908 in a small town. She is a farmer girl whose mother died and being the oldest daughter of four, takes on the responsibilities that a farmer's wife would have. Mattie longs to go to college in New York and become a writer. Mattie starts to work at a hotel in the summer to help her Pa with money. The hotel is where a young woman named Grace Brown gives her letters and asks her to burn them. But when Grace is found dead and drowned, Mattie starts to read the letters and discover a terrible truth.

This. Book. Is. Amazing.

Now, my description might misguide you, because the description on the book misguided me. While Mattie does read Grace Brown's letters, the majority of the novel is more about her life, and the big mystery behind the letters is evident from the beginning. Despite being mislead, I adored this book. I haven't loved a character so deep in my gut since Gemma Doyle. Unlike Gemma, who finally won me over at the end of AGATB, Mattie got me from the very beginning. Her love of books, words and freedom are glorious and written about articulately. I related to her very well. Unlike me, Mattie is immensely selfless, and typically this would have annoyed me. I like my characters to have a healthy sense of selfishness. But somehow, it didn't. I ended up loving all the characters in Mattie's life, and I understood why she was so willing to sacrifice herself for the ones she loved. The characters weren't all good or bad, they were like real people with interesting quirks and disappointing faults. I understood Mattie. While I did not understand her attraction to Royal Loomis, a beautiful farmer boy, I understood the feelings she got around him. I understood why she had to think so much about the promises she made to both her mother and Grace. Although I was typically one or two steps ahead of Mattie, there were a few things that surprised me. I thought the conclusion fit the book and Mattie sacrificed a lot.

There is no doubt that this book is flawed, the description is misleading, the lack of plot, mystery and historical accuracy in a few areas, could be unforgivable to some people. But the characters and writing made up for it for me at the end. There was something about Mattie, a character who in some respects was completely unlike myself, that got to me in ways that even Gemma couldn't. I am pleased I've found a new book love that is equal but different to my love of the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. 5 out of 5.


1 comment:

  1. I just finished listening to this book on audio today and LOVED it. I was surprised it held my attention so well, but it was just so moving and had so much going on in it. I like the way things were wrapped up at the end too.