Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Emily of Deep Valley-Maud Hart Lovelace

Emily of Deep Valley
Maud Hart Lovelace
Harper, Oct 12 2010, $12.99
ISBN: 9780062003300

In Deep Valley, Minnesota, orphan Emily Webster lives with her Grandpa Webster. Like other girls in the class of 1912 at the high school she attends and now graduating, she has dreams of going to college. However, she not only owes her elderly relative for taking her in, she feels strongly that she must not leave her beloved Grandpa Webster alone; thus she remains outside of the Crowd.

Although she expects a cold "lost winter" Emily vows to keep active. She works hard studying and is fascinated with the culture of the nearby Syrian community. However, it is the new high school teacher Jed Wakeman who has Emily dreaming once again of being all that she can be.

One of the three Deep Valley stand alone stories (see Carney's House Party and Winona's Pony Cart), Emily’s tale is a reprint of a warm Americana tale. Emily is a fabulous individual who initially feels sorry for herself but comes out of her funk when she decides to make herself a better person while she suffers through the “lost winter” as her few friends go to college. Jed is a nice person studying for his Masters in sociology. However it is the “bad boy” Don Walker who danced with Emily and somewhat steals the show with his scorning intelligence as he purposely butchers Browning and his mocking speech at high school commencement. With humor and pathos Maud Hart Lovelace brings to life the seemingly innocence of 1912 Minnesota when a teen smoking a cigarette means juvenile delinquent.

Harriet Klausner

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