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David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
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    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677


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ISBN13: 2221111024130
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yipslsquirrel, June 20, 2011 (view all comments by yipslsquirrel)
This was one of my favorite books as a child, and now I'm in my fifties and it still holds up. ELizabeth Ann, an orphan at what is around the turn of the 20th century, is suddenly taken from her portected life in an unidentified Midwestern city to live with relatives on a Vermont farm. She has been treated as a hothouse flower by her previous guardian, Aunt Frances, and is fearful of what will await her on the Putney farm, where perhaps they exploit children. Instead, she finds not only love and acceptance, but a sort of redeeming self-reliance. I loved this book partly because it dealt adeptly and without didacticism with the difficult parts of social life, including alcoholism, parental illness and death, cultural differences between rural and urban children, and the balance between mothering and smothering, as we might call it now. We make the transition along with this frightened child as her Cousin Ann moves almost imperceptibly from being an intimidating authoritative presence to serving as a model of practical self-reliance. The redemptive value of a child who overcomes hardship and learns her own strength in the country is a common theme in 20th century children's literature. Dorothy Canfield (who re-published this book for a later generation as Dorothy Canfield Fisher) pokes gentle fun at an overprotective approach to child-rearing, and eventually invites the children following Elizabeth Ann's transition to a strong farm girl named Betsy to share her compassion and appreciation for the foibles of all these adults.
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