6.26.2009

#50. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

"Would you go back?" asked Mr. Cobb curiously.

She flashed him an intrepid look and then said proudly, "I'd never go back--I might be frightened, but I'd be ashamed to run. Going to Aunt Mirandy's is like going down the cellar in the dark. There might be ogres and giants under the stairs, but as I tell Hannah, there might be elves and fairies and enchanted frogs!"


Author: Kate Douglas Wiggin

Synopsis: Rebecca Rowena Randall, second daughter of a struggling family, goes to live with her two aunts in a small town, where even her humble history and her grim Aunt Miranda cannot keep her from the spotlight.

* * *

Rebecca gave me a complex if ever a fictional character did; what child can live up to her infinite magnetism? In spite of that, I loved her story. She made me laugh, and I sympathized with her a lot despite her superior powers of fascination.

The characters are well-drawn and interesting, which is the first thing I ask from a novel, though I sometimes find myself frustrated by the repeated characterization of the less charismatic as dull, narrow and unenlightened. The primary purpose of almost every person in Riverboro appears to be the setting off of Rebecca's starry personality. "Mr. Aladdin", though, as well as Aunt Jane and "Uncle" Jerry and Miss Maxwell, etc., are enjoyable characters in their own right, and antagonists such as Aunt Miranda and Huldah Meserve are believable and assist both plot and character development well.

Rebecca's many escapades--the Simpson lamp, the inviting home of a missionary family without her aunts' permission, the pink umbrella down the well, and so on--are more interesting to me, I confess, than a lot of wild exploits. I'm very fond of getting to know a character's mind and heart, and without that, action doesn't interest me at all.

Now I want to read it again. That's the problem with listing my favorite books; my re-read list is sure to get much longer very quickly.

By the bye, I'm pretty sure the Shirley Temple movie had absolutely nothing to do with the book.

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