Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Prophet of Yonwood
DuPrau. Jeanne. 2006. The Prophet of Yonwood.
Set several hundred years before THE CITY OF EMBER, The Prophet of Yonwood begins with the childhood of Nickie Randolph. A young girl whose father is away working on some secret project for the government. Nickie and her aunt have come to Yonwood, North Carolina, to settle the estate of her late great-grandfather. It’s Nickie’s dream for her mother to settle down here and live in this wonderful, old house full of memories and stories. Her mother wants to sell it as quickly as possible. Yonwood is an interesting community as Nickie comes to find out. One of its most fascinatingly eery attractions is Althea Tower, the so-called Prophet of Yonwood. Just a few months before, Althea had been out in her backyard when she had been struck with a vision. Ever since she has been able to communicate effectively. A few phrases or sounds come out now and then...strands from the vision...or so her neighbors think. But is there more to this story?
Strange things are happening all over the world. Nations are on the brink of war. Terrorists--or the threat of terrorists--have brought many to hold radical beliefs. Nickie can’t make sense of any of it. What kind of chance does the world have with such crazy people running about? What can she do to help ‘save the world’?
Her neighbor, Mrs. Brenda Beeson, wants her to be a spy. To report who is being good...and who is being bad. To decide who is being moral enough to continue on in their community, and who needs to be purged from the community to strengthen it and save it from impending doom. But who is she to judge her neighbors? Is this really what ‘God’ has been telling his prophet? Aren’t these new commandments a little strange and strict? And aren’t the punishments for not conforming a bit too harsh?
Her desire to ‘save the world’ or ‘make a useful contribution to society’ won’t happen when she’s twelve...but when she’s sixty. She will be one of the founding community members of the City of Ember. Her legacy as a daughter of one of the Builders.