Wednesday, May 3, 2017
One for Sorrow
In my world, a book by Mary Downing Hahn gets an automatic pass to the top of the TBR pile. When I was a teacher I read Wait Til Helen Comes to almost every class of 4th and 5th graders that I had. The Old Willis Place is another of my favorites as is Took. I have found some in recent years to be not as good but there still have to be read.
So... this one. The beginning was very much like some of the others. You have Elsie who is not very nice trying to befriend Annie a new girl. Annie is able to "escape" Elsie's clutches and makes friends with some other girls. The other girls are not nice to Elsie at all - in fact they are downright bullies. The book takes place in 1918 / 1919 during the Spanish Flu epidemic and Elsie catches it and dies.
But wait - that's only the 1st third of the book. Soon Elsie's ghost is back haunting Annie and making her do terrible things. How can Annie get rid of Elsie and can Elsie ever find what she is looking for?
I did like the ending and the plot picked up and separated itself from some others in short order. I anticipated the ending but it was good and offered a promise of healing and redemption. I kind of wish it had been more like the ending of Wait Til Helen Comes with a bit more closure but then it would have been too similar.
I did have a few small issues. The Pledge of Allegiance was mentioned several times. While the original pledge was introduced in 1892 it has changed wording several times since then and was not formally adopted til much later. I think it would have been good to add that historical context or the wording at least once in the book.
I did enjoy the book overall and its creepiness will ensure that students will like it too.