Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My take: I am really stumped whether I hated this book or loved it. I am still trying to figure out the symbolism which irritates me that I'm not seeing it more clearly. I'm also trying to figure out whether or not I liked the story itself or just the writing. I'm thinking that it is the writing that draws me as does the African setting. I also enjoyed the character development. Each member of the family became distinct the further I traveled with them.
The time is 1976. Amaryllis is having her 11th birthday. She and Mary Tess come across a dead snake splayed open. They also cross paths with a Native American man. I think the symbolism of the snake is that the evidence dictates that the family face the inevitable truth - Amaryllis has a different father, although Amaryllis' guess is wrong.
Dick (Dad) gets his panties in a wad because he knows it's true, although it's never discussed. He believes the sperm donor is in the vicinity of the summer house and does stuff he shouldn't in an effort to not murder the supposed sperm donor then goes to confession where the priest encourages him to go serve in West Africa. As the reader soon sees, this is laden with irony.
POV is told by all members of the family. This distinguishes each person, personality, flaw and strength for me. Dick is buried in his Catholic beliefs, Seena rejects religion and favors mythology, Mary Grace is beautiful and wants desperately to prove she is more than just a pretty face, Mary Catherine, a wounded and pious soul, Mary Tess who loves to stir the pot and Amaryllis, the girl who sees colors with emotion along with other things that natural eyes can not see.
Like I said, the story did not draw me in. The POV and writing style, however, was beautiful and well organized. The author has a solid grasp on language.
The good people at Simon and Schuster have agreed to sponsor a giveaway! Yay! I would love to see others' reviews. This would be a fantastic book club book. In fact, book discussion questions are included.
No P.O. Boxes
One copy per household
Ends March 1, 2011
2 copies available
+1 for comments. Tell me where you'd rather be than in the cold, cold snow.