Monday, 4 February 2008

Great Read

Finished February 2
The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown
This is a delightful read. Most of it takes place over the summer right after Alice turns ten. If it wasn't for her age, I'd be tempted to call it a coming of age novel. It is over this time period that Alice becomes aware of the adult world and the issues and worries that are present there in a way she hadn't perceived before. This is due to the presence of two new friends in her life. Theo is the mixed race grandson of the older couple next door. He was supposed to be spending the summer with his grandparents, but ends up spending it with Alice's family. Theo is both more adventurous and more fearful than Alice, and coming from New York City is more worldly than she is. Kenneth is an older man, who has come home to live with his middle-aged sister from a cosmopolitan life as an artist. Kenneth has AIDS and is physically frail, and asks Alice to come and read to him. The three choose the journals of Lewis and Clark as reading matter, and Alice and Theo are inspired to build a rope walk for Kenneth so that he can walk alone in the woods behind his house. Alice has grown up with five older brothers and her father, a university professor, so in some ways is older than many children her age, but they have also protected her from the outside world in many ways. Her development over the summer is engrossing to witness and I thoroughly enjoyed this book

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