Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Is there anything so nice as discovering a new (to you) book by a favourite author? Yesterday, Rodzina by Karen Cushman came in to the store. I have loved Cushman's Catherine, Called Birdy and her other books set in the middle ages. Rodzina, however, is set in the US, during the nineteenth century.

Rodzina is an orphan, living in Chicago. She ends up on an orphan train, bound for the west (Cushman includes a great author's note that details the history of orphan trains). Rodzina spend most of her time on the train daydreaming that her Polish family is still alive, and that the whole orphan business is a mistake. But she also spends a good portion of the time on the train looking after the younger orphans, and worrying that she'll end up being a slave for some cruel person. Eventually, Rodzina finds a happy ending for herself in California, a place she imagines her parents would also love.

I think one of Cushman's great strengths as a writer is her ability to make you learn without you realizing it. All of her books are historically accurate, and she obviously works really hard on the research end of things. But, unlike some authors, you don't notice it right off the bat. In her books, story and character come first, and the setting never takes centre stage. Though Rodzina is no Midwife's Apprentice, its still a great novel of the American West.

Rodzina by Karen Cushman
ISBN 044041993x
215 pages


Post a Comment

<< Home