Monday, October 28, 2013

CYBILS REVIEW: Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice


Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn't even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then, just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she loses the special volume of Emily Dickinson's poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily's understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.

In her third novel, Kathryn Fitzmaurice again weaves a richly textured story about unexpected connections, about the stories that shape our lives, and about the most perfect kinds of happy endings: those that happen just on time.



I confess, I didn't particularly like the book when I first started reading it, but it grew on me and by the end I quite liked it.  The story definitely has an unusual take on the searching for a missing parent story.  The main theme here is destiny and how much an individual controls her own destiny.

Emily has been told her whole life that fate controls one's destiny, but when her special book of Emily Dickinson poetry disappears Emily struggles to accept this idea.  After her mother reveals that her father's name is in the book along with her mother's comments about her own life, she becomes desperate to get it back and doesn't want to accept that fate might not want her to know who her father is.  With the help of her best friend, Wavey, and her cousin Mortie, Emily is determined to get her book back. At the same time, she is intrigued by the efforts to save the oak trees along the street she walks to go to school. Can the protesters save the trees or is it a lost cause? And what about her mother's belief that Emily will be a famous poet someday, when Emily has no interest in writing poetry but happy-ended romances instead? And above all can Emily write her own happy ending or has fate decreed something else?

Strengths:  Emily's plans to be 'unpredictable' so as to allow chance to play a role in her destiny is fun to watch.  I appreciated her efforts to step out of her comfort zone in search of what destiny really meant. And like all of us, she makes her share of mistakes. The relationships are enjoyable and fun to watch, especially Emily's relationship with her cousin, Mortie. The writing is smooth and flow nicely. And I do so love a happy ending. Sigh. This book would work well as a read-a-loud though, there is much here worthy of discussion.

Weaknesses: How many children are interested in Emily Dickinson or Danielle Steel? The literature aspects of the novel are great but not necessarily going to appeal to a lot of child readers.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this book too, but I also agree with you that some aspects won't appeal to the age group it's aimed at. Great review!


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