Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare


By now you are probably familiar and tired of hearing about my project, but just in case you have somehow missed out on what I've been up to, let me tell you. While cleaning out my garage I found some old VHS tapes, my high school Nintendo Powers, and a whole bunch of my old books from high school and college. Naturally, some of them had to go, and naturally, I decided the best way to decide that was to give some of them a reread and see how they stood up to the test of time.

I've read THE WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND several times over the course of my life and my attitude towards the heroine, Kit, changed with me. I remember thinking she was super annoying when I was younger, but as an adult woman, I found her fascinating and brave. I thought the author did a magnificent job making Kit seem like an ordinary teenage girl but with the problems that might befall a girl of her age at that time.

Kit grew up on Barbados but when her parents died and then her grandfather, too, she is left with no choice but to seek out her Puritan aunt and uncle, and her cousins Mercy and Judith. They reluctantly take her in and immediately Kit proceeds to stick out like a sore thumb. She can swim and read and her clothes are too fancy and she can't do any chores. At best, people glance at her askance. At worst, people grumble that she might be some sort of witch.

Things get worse when Kit befriends Hannah, a Quaker woman everyone believes is a witch. As their friendship grows and the two of them envelope a young girl named Prudence into their folds, tensions and suspicions against Kit and Hannah mount until, like a lit fuse, something just has to go off.

I loved all of the characters in this book. Everyone was so complex and there were a ton of nuances that I missed as a kid. Like the fact that Nat is totally crushing on Kit, or that Mercy is sort of a Christ-like figure in this book (kind of like that girl from Little Women who died, only thankfully, she doesn't die). I actually really liked her uncle Matthew. When I was a kid, I thought he was a big meanie but he really is doing his best and his frustrations and love for his family were super subtly portrayed.

Not all of the books from my childhood hold up but this one does. It's a much better story than The Crucible.

4 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.