Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Kindred Souls

Kindred Souls. Patricia MacLachlan. 2012. HarperCollins. 119 pages.

My grandfather, Billy, hears the talk of birds. He leans out the open bedroom window with his head tilted to listen in the warm prairie morning.

Kindred Souls is the kind of children's book I have come to appreciate as an adult, but, the kind of book that I would NEVER have wanted to read as a child. In other words, it's one of those books. You know, the kind, the kind that introduces you to a wonderful old man AND a dog. And you have every right to be suspicious that the end will destroy your emotional well-being.

Jake, our narrator, is ten and confident; confident that everything will stay the same, confident that life is good and will stay that way. Sure, his grandfather, Billy, is eighty-eight, sure he's moved in with them. But he will live FOREVER. Don't ask him how he knows, it's enough that he believes. The novel begins with the two going on their usual walk. Billy is talking--again--about the sod house where he was born. He is wishing--again--that it hadn't fallen into such horrible condition. He is telling Jake--again--about the old days. This time Billy seems extra-sad, so Jake asks him a simple question: "How hard is it to cut a brick of sod?" And so the idea is born that a new sod house will be built...

And then there is the arrival of Lucy, a stray dog, that seems to be the perfect companion for Billy. Billy and Lucy seem to be best, best, best friends from the very first moment they meet.

This book is about an unforgettable summer.

Read Kindred Souls
  • If you like bittersweet children's books
  • If you like emotional family stories
  • If you are a fan of Patricia MacLachlan
  • If you like dog stories
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Ms. Yingling 10:14 AM  

Perfect description: "Kindred Souls is the kind of children's book I have come to appreciate as an adult, but, the kind of book that I would NEVER have wanted to read as a child." Perfect. This was so, so sad.

eralides e cabrera 6:47 AM  

Thanks for the review, I think Patricia MacLachlan is a good author. I'd definitely try to get a copy of this book.

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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
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  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • 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.

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