Thought for the Day:
“An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”
~ Stephen King ~
Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Jenna Harte has written a great guest post HERE on Fiction University that give Easy Tips to Incorporate Backstory into Your Novel.
Someone once told me there are 37 comma rules. I’m kind of a grammar Nazi, but I don’t know all the comma rules. HERE Derek Haines at Just Publishing Advice has Don’t Let the Comma Before Which Confuse You. He has wonderful examples.
HERE is a terrific post at Writers on the Move from Carolyn Howard-Johnson on How to Write a Chase Scene that Works.
It has been a difficult couple of weeks for me. There is something wrong with my lower back, and I have been laid low by it. Massage and chiropractic treatments haven’t solved the problem. I ice, heat, rest, repeat all day every day. I have been taking muscle relaxants for the last week, which makes me pretty loopy and sleepy. Nothing. I will have an MRI on Thursday, the soonest they can get me scheduled. The good news is it has been a great time to be stuck doing nothing. See? Everything has a silver lining. I have watched some of the best, most exciting tennis of my life at the French Open. The match in the semi-finals between Nadal and Djokovic was nothing short of mind-bending. Of course, I have also been reading some good books you will be hearing about it coming weeks, maybe the best of which is Six Feet Below Zero by Ena Jones. I’m about 20 pages from the end, and I really don’t want it to be over. Sooooo good! I won a copy on From the Mixed Up Files … of Middle Grade Authors. Anyway, that leads me to the book I will tell you about today.
Whenever I read a David Almond book (I’ve only read a few), I feel a little off kilter. I always feel like I’m not sure it’s really a kids’ book. Maybe they are really adult parables disguised as kids’ books. There are deceptive layers and messages that I’m not at all sure kids get or should get or are meant for kids to get. Annie Lumsden, the Girl from the Sea (illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna), is no exception to this. It’s an odd little story.
Annie isn’t like the other kids in school. Words and numbers don’t really make any sense to her. Some of the other children mock her, and she is asked to leave the school. She stays home with her mother, an artist, singer, and story teller, listening to the wonderful stories her mother tells her. She even tells Annie about the man who was her father, an odd man from the sea who was not quite human, who went back to the sea before she was born. Annie does things that seem more natural to her. Sometimes her legs weaken and collapse, but she can always swim in the sea and spend time lying on the beach. This is where she was happiest. A man from America comes to visit their town, to take pictures of the islands. He takes pictures of Annie and her mother. Annie’s mother asks if she can have one. And it is in that photograph that Annie sees the truth of herself.
David Almond has written a strange little tale full of mystery and fantasy and dreams. The gorgeous illustrations by Beatrice Alemagna have an ethereal quality that is perfect for this otherworldly tale. The writing is beautiful and the story is different from anything else one might find in middle-grade books. This is a book to be experienced rather than read. I received a copy of this book from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.
I have a gently-read copy for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.