A Slip of a Girl — Review

Thought for the Day:

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
~ Colin Powell ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

I always learn something when I read an author’s journey or interviews with authors. Noelle Sterne has a guest post on Live Write Thrive HERE that includes 24 Lessons Learned from Writing My Novel. #16 might be my favorite.

Getting Point of View right is really important if you ever expect to be published. Nathan Branford has a good post HERE that will help you do it right.

I have had severe writer’s block lately and was happy to see the post HERE on the Creative Penn with 10 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block.

Here in 2020, I think often of Charles Dickens’ opening to A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us …” Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse or more dark or bring more despair, we lose the great beacon of light for women in this country, Ruth Bader Ginsberg. And it makes me think, briefly, that I can’t take any more, and I will wave the white flag to 2020, but then I remember the many wise admonitions and inspiring moments RBG left us with, and I know I have to keep going and work harder and send more letters to people in congress and send more money to good candidates and pray this too shall pass and soon. RIP, RBG. Oh, how I shall miss you.

Last week, I offered a gently-read ARC of Bubba & Squirt’s Mayan Adventure by Sherry Ellis to one of you. This week’s winner is Elizabeth Varadan. Congratulations, Elizabeth! If you don’t know her, she is a very prolific writer — children’s books, adult cozy mysteries, and poetry — and lives in Northern California. you can read more about her at her blogs (yes, two of them) at Elizabeth Varadan’s Fourth Wish and at Victorian Scribbles. I’ll get your book out to you soon, Elizabeth.

I wish I had a better memory. I read about A Slip of a Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff on someone’s blog in the last several weeks, but I can’t remember to whom to give credit. I decided I really wanted to read it. I have read a few of her books, and always enjoyed them, so I ordered it up from the library. Doesn’t that cover make you want to dive right into this book?

Anna lives with her family on a farm in the country near an Englishman’s estate in Ireland. They are tenant farmers, and much of what they grow must go toward rent. One day she finds a tattered book in a field, and vows she will find a way to learn to read. Most children she knows have never had the chance to go to school as they have to work all the time just to keep their families from being evicted. They have little to eat. Anna’s two older brothers leave to go to America and find a better life, leaving Anna, Da, Mam, older sister Jane, and young, special-needs sister Nuala behind. It is not long before the brothers send for Jane, and Mam weakens and dies. Anna’s best friend, Liam, and his family are evicted, and they have to leave. It is a lot of loss for anyone to deal with. Anna’s anger bubbles up and she causes some damage at the English master’s home. She and her father are arrested, but Anna manages to escape and, taking Nuala with her, walks for days with only what they can beg or steal to keep them alive, and it is sometimes touch and go. They have an aunt in a faraway village and must find their way to her. Will they make it? Will she ever see Da again?

Patricia Reilly Giff

I have said before, sometimes I read a book written in verse and wonder why it is called verse and not prose-with-a-lot-of-white-space. That is definitely not the case with this book. Giff’s writing is lyrical and beautiful. The story is very compelling and will carry readers, even reluctant readers, through with little effort. I knew nothing about the Irish Land Wars, but it is a stunning story. While this is a work of fiction, it is clear Giff did her homework and has steeped her story in history. Middle graders will relate to and admire Anna, the main character, and her extraordinary, arduous journey. It will be particularly impressive when young readers learn this was a real happening in history, and that there are unfortunate parallels to our world today. It would also be a terrific read aloud.

I have no giveaway this week, because as bad a year as it has been, I haven’t yet taken to stealing books from my local library. I should have a giveaway again soon. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

26 thoughts on “A Slip of a Girl — Review”

  1. Glad you’re not stealing any books. This sounds like a great story perfect for right now to remind us what hardship really is. I never heard of this author before but she sounds like a good one to check out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I just can’t bring myself to steal library books. 😎 This is such a great story. I’m surprised you haven’t run across Patricia Reilly Giff. She is very prolific. Thanks for stopping by.


  2. I’ve read several of Patricia Reilly Giff’s books and loved every one of them. As you know, Irish issues are near and dear to my heart, and her books are luminous in taking a reader into the world as it was in Ireland during very troubled times, like the Potato Famine and, now, above, the Land Wars. I would love to read that book, so I’ll look for it, for sure. Great and gripping review. On another note, yes, we are certainly living in Dickensonian times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoy Patricia Reilly Giff’s books. And “A Slip of a Girl” intrigues me because the location and the Irish land wards. One side of my family left from Ireland in 1851. I haven’t read much of anything about Ireland, so this is going on my list! What a great review.
    I was devastated by the news of Ruth’s death last Friday night. What a remarkable woman and wonderful role model for girls. We lost three major icons this past year — their work was always for the betterment of humanity and will live one in those who keep the torch burning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know where you first heard about this title. It was last month when JENNI ENZOR featured it on her blog as a part of MMGM. I have this on my to read list and put a star next to it after reading your review. I visited Ireland 10 years ago as many of my ancestors were from that country. It’s a beautiful place and the people I encountered were super nice.
    Enjoyed all the links. Writing certainly is a difficult task so I’m thankful to have such great support from the sites you feature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so grateful to have friends with good memories. Of course, it was Jenni’s blog. Ireland is beautiful. I love all the British Isles and hope I can go back one more time soon. Thanks for stopping by.


  5. The cover is so inviting – and a story about making your own way through learning to read is definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks!


  6. I’m relieved to hear that you didn’t stray off the straight and narrow in order to offer us a copy of “A Slip of a Girl!” What an interesting story idea. I’ll look for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trying to keep my theivery to a minimum. 😉 You should be able to get it from your library. You will like it. And knowing you, it will take you no time at all to read it. Thanks for visiting.


  7. This sounds like a beautiful book! I’ve never actually read anything by Patricia Reilly Giff, and I’m not sure how I’ve managed to get away with that for so long. I really appreciate your RBG tribute—she truly was an incredible person. I love the quote and the second-to-last sentence of the post—honestly, if some kind of mass thievery of books started happening, I’d just be like, “Oh, that’s just 2020.” Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

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