Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Up a Road Slowly
Published: 1966 (I may have to remove this one from my list because it does not fall within my date range)
"If you were ever a child, ever an adolescent, you will understand Julie. I saw a lot of myself in her when I read this as a middle school dreamer. Irene Hunt's coming-of-age novel is a remarkably moving work - and therefore, timeless.
Little Julie Trelling and her older brother Chris are left to live with their firm, but kind Aunt Cordelia when her father is widowed. Bright, sensitive, and a bit of a rebel, Julie faces the tough challenges of growing up smart and female. During her childhood, Julie learns bittersweet lessons in heartbreak and compassion and justice and love as only as children do. As idyllic as her country life seems, there is prejudice, meanness, and smallness of human spirit in all corners of the world. Hunt emphasizes her point by making the time and place settings vague. We could all be a Julie living in a no-name town.
As Julie grows up from a young child of seven to seventeen, she tells her story in a voice both immediate and honest. So you feel her triumphs, spirit, wrongs, and experiences in "real time." Hunt creates a vibrantly alive character who draws you in with her compelling point of view. While this is primarily Julie's story, you meet the formidable Aunt Cordelia, whose own life could have been Julie's life. Both women are strong, admirable portrayals, making this an excellent book for girls. Other memorable characters are Alicia, Danny, Carlotta, and Aggie.
The book isn't all lessons and wisdom. It's mostly evocative and reflective, stringing together significant moments in growing up with precise detail of everyday things (like windowsills and bowls of berries), rather than being action-packed or plot-driven. Hunt tell us that growing up isn't simple, but you're also never alone even when you want to be, as even enemies and bad experiences shape us as much as the loved ones and good times do. Up a Road Slowly is written poignantly and intimately." (Amazon.com)
I just placed an order for this and am excited to read it.