Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer

Here is a paragraph about this book that I wrote two years ago as a part of a longer post about children's books.

I am currently on a tear to finish all the Newbery Award winners. I’m into the older ones now. I just finished a wonderful old one: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer. Even 70 years ago kids’ authors were tackling some big issues - an unhappy marriage, a murder, bullying, the death of a child, a child’s profane outburst, poverty - all handled with grace and style.


That tear slowed a bit, but the goal is still there. I've read 50 so far. I highly recommend Roller Skates. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Juliette said...

Terrell - I too am aiming to get through as many Newbery boks as possible. This is my present read and I am thoroughly enjoyin it. I find it fascinating that the older books can still speak to us today despite some of the language of the time. I am certainly learning from these older books.

Heather Rogge said...

I need help understanding Roller Skates. I don't understand the introduction. Did she stay 10 figuratively?

BostonPatriot said...

The book opens as ten-year-old Lucinda "comes back" to a place where, if you remember, she is dressed differently from everyone else, and where the narrator (it's not exactly clear who it is) remembers the girl from many years past. It's been so many years that the narrator doesn't quite remember the people and events that Lucinda mentions. At the same time the narrator says that Lucinda has not changed. Then they opens the old diary that Lucinda is pleased has not been thrown away. The ten-year-old Lucinda has been reincarnated.

If you look to the last chapter it's clear that Lucinda wants to stay ten, and is loathe to return to the life from which she'd been free for a year. The night before she has had a dream she is a seagull (important, because she had decided with her doctor friend that her little friend Trinket had become a seagull upon death, and Lucinda had declared it something she wishes for herself). In the dream she, as a free-flying seagull, meets with the Trinket seagull.

Also in the last chapter Lucinda gets a "blessing" from her Irish hansom cabdriver friend that she remain ten; he says that if they were in Ireland the spell would work. At the very end Lucinda thinks that someone else can have her eleventh birthday, then looks into the "still, placid water" and speaks of the "elegance" of not growing up. She'll tell only three of her friends, and come back every spring as a ten-year-old, "never any older." Dark stuff.