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Book Review: The Witch of Blackbird Pond

December 14, 2011

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this book, but it’s been several.  I remember the first time I found it on the library shelf.  I had heard of it before… I knew it was a Newberry award winner and so it must be good, right?  But, the cover art was creepy… and I had never read a book about a “witch” before… I was pretty young at the time.  But, I decided my reasons against reading it were lame so I picked it up and added it to my stack.  I read it that afternoon and I’ve loved, loved, LOVED it ever since.  It’s such a classic, I feel like maybe I shouldn’t have to provide a summary, but on the off chance that one of my readers hasn’t heard of it or read it, here we go:

Kit Tyler is an orphan raised by her wealthy Grandfather in magical, gorgeous Barbados.  But, when her grandfather dies, she’s left with debt and a pending marriage she doesn’t want.  So, she sells everything to pay her debts and escapes on a ship to Massachusetts where her Aunt Rachel, whom she has never met, lives with her family.  Aunt Rachel’s family are Puritans.  The life they live is a stark contrast to Kit’s vivacious ways.  She doesn’t fit in, and neither do the only friends she makes, a woman named Hannah Tupper and an unloved little girl named Prudence.  Prudence needs someone to believe in her. Hannah is a Quaker and a social outcast.  She is different.  And therefore dangerous.

This book is crammed full of truths and lessons to be learned.  I think every person at some point in their life feels like they don’t fit in or don’t belong.  We all go through times when no one really understands us.  Kit manages all of this extremely well.  Popular culture tells us to be true to ourselves and forget anyone that doesn’t understand, but I’ve always felt that bridges were made to be crossed.  And that if I see the bridge, I’m the one that should cross it. I shouldn’t wait on my side and get offended that no one else has come over. We don’t like to admit this but often WE are the ones that need to change. Kit’s family doesn’t understand her, and they want to stuff her into a Puritan mold.  Kit doesn’t understand her family, but she doesn’t complain or pout.  She pitches in and works hard.  She chooses to do what she feels is right without disrespecting her Aunt and Uncle, even though they don’t understand each other.  If this book were written today I feel like the main focus would be the social and religious conflict.  Instead the main focus is Kit and her relationships with her family and friends.  It’s about people that have conflicting beliefs learning to respect each other, learning to learn from each other. It’s about the true meaning of friendship and what kind of sacrifice it requires.   It’s about learning to look beyond sterotypes and fears. It’s about learning to love people we don’t understand, learning when to stand up for ourselves and when to let our own desires be less important to us than someone else’s.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    December 14, 2011 10:15 am

    Wow, that is not at all what I thought the book was about…sounds REALLYgood! You write such good reviews btw!

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