Sunday, April 15, 2007

In Search of Mockingbird


Ellsworth, Loretta. 2007. In Search of Mockingbird.

In Search of Mockingbird is a new book that feels like an old friend. Erin is a sixteen year old on the run. But it isn't like you might think. She's not running away from something, so much as she's running towards something. Since her mother died when she was a baby, Erin has felt disconnected. She has no memories of her mother, but she's tired of people telling her that she shouldn't miss what she never had. She feels an emptiness, a loss, that is very real. This void begins to be filled when she picks up a tattered copy of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The book belonged to her mother and is filled with gems like these: "I love this part" and "Scout's father, Atticus, was much more than a man" (7). These notes and markings from her mother are like a tender message to her daughter. Since she first discovered it in the attic, it has become her most treasured possession. That is until her father gives her mother's diary to her as a birthday present. Now, these two possessions and a dream are her way to connect with her mother. Her dream? To go to Monroeville, Alabama, and find Harper Lee. More than anything, she wants to talk with this author who has created a bond between her and her mother. So on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Erin sneaks out of her house and buys a one-way bus ticket. Along the way, she'll meet interesting characters who teach her some important life lessons. This book is a perfect illustration that sometimes the journey becomes more important than the final destination.

In Search of Mockingbird is beautifully told in poems and prose. Erin is a memorable character who showcases what it means to be human. What it is about--what it is all about--is a young woman's search for a deeper connection with life. She wants more. She needs more. The novel satisfies from cover to cover.

Unspoken lies are the worst kind.
Scout said she was young when her mother died,
and she never missed her presence.
I was preoccupied with my mother at an early age,
like a memory long gone that I yearned for.
I think Dad missed her, too,
even though he didn't say that he did.
"Was Mommy pretty? Did Mommy have long hair?"
"Yes." "No." Short answers masked in sadness.
Did I say something wrong?
Finally, I stopped asking.
(69)

Related books:
I highly recommend To Kill A Mockingbird to anyone who hasn't read it yet. But I also would recommend reading Pepperland by Mark DeLaney. Pepperland is about a sixteen-year-old girl who is grieving for her mother and trying to connect with her through an old guitar and an old fan letter to John Lennon. Another book with a similar theme is King Dork. King Dork is about a young teen boy who is connecting with his father (who is dead) by reading a tattered copy of Catcher in the Rye. So B. It by Sarah Weeks is another great book about a young girl--this time a twelve-year-old trying to connect with her mother. It also features a girl traveling cross country on her own.

http://www.henryholtchildrensbooks.com/ellsworth.htm
http://www.lorettaellsworth.com/
Chasing Ray's review of In Search of Mockingbird
ProperNoun's Review of In Search of Mockingbird

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP