Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mary Ingalls On Her Own


Willard, Elizabeth Kimmel. 2008. Mary Ingalls On Her Own.

"Mary Ingalls stepped carefully from the train onto the bustling platform in Vinton, Iowa. She stood straight and quiet, her hands clasping the handle of her small suitcase. Her pale blue eyes shone with a mix of anxiety and excitement. Mary took a deep breath as the cool November breeze fanned her flushed cheeks and carried the hot smell of engine steam past her nose."

The novel, Mary Ingalls On Her Own, opens with Ma and Pa and Mary arriving in Vinton, Iowa. They have brought their daughter to blind school, a college for the blind. Everyone in the Ingalls family has worked so hard in order to provide this opportunity for Mary. And Mary know she is fortunate and blessed to be here. Her emotions on this day are mixed. Feeling sad to be leaving her family behind, to be leaving Laura behind. Laura has been her best friend, her confidante, her "eyes" for years now. Yet she feels the need to prove herself, to gain independence, to try her best at this new venture. The novel only spans two months, perhaps even a little less time. (From her arrival on that November day--we're not told when in November she arrives--to Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. During this time Mary has her moments.

Adjusting to life on her own in this new environment isn't quite as easy as Mary thought it would be. She does have two great roommates Hannah and Blanche. However, she also has one grumpy neighbor, Mattie, a girl who is only partially blind. And this young woman is going to try her patience something fierce. Mattie sees Mary as being a GOOD GIRL. Interpret that as being a goody-two-shoes or self-righteous or stereotypically perfect. Mary does have to wrestle with that image. She doesn't feel like a good girl. But she's aware that others have always had that image of her. She's not sure how she's projecting that image so much, just that it must stem from the fact that she doesn't speak without thinking. She's not prone to putting her foot in her mouth. Or giving way to anger. Or really letting people have it.

As for the plot, not much happens. That's not being rude. There are a few things now and then that "happen." But this one is about exploring the inner thoughts of one character. The emphasis is on character growth in other words.

The novel is fiction. While we know that Mary attended this college for the blind, we don't know much about her experiences there. We know she was a good student. We know she was known for being well-behaved and intelligent, but we don't know much about her personal life, her thoughts, her emotions, her hopes and dreams.

For those that can't get enough of Little House, this one might be for you. One of the things I enjoyed was seeing little facts or details from the other novels turn up. References to what Ma, Pa, Laura, Carrie, and Grace were doing. References to Mary's past and their present as well. For example, we hear by letter from the family occasionally giving updates. And if you've read the other books cover to cover, you know where that fits in here. So that was fun.

Another review: Sarah Miller,

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Carrie 12:29 PM  

Sounds interesting. It IS curious what happened to Mary and what she experienced. That's a cliff hanger left over from the Little House books.

Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.

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

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP