Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reading with my girl

Peaceful Girl and I finished reading Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff, the author of Eleven and Nory Ryan's Song amongst many others.   I am amazed at the variety of Giff's story- telling topics!  Her latest book is about horse racing and Brazilian immigrants.  I'm not a fan of horse racing but years ago I had a Brazilian exchange student stay with our family.   Peaceful Girl loves horses as millions of other little girls her age and beyond do!  I knew when I picked it up at the library the horse theme would transport PG and it did-we also enjoyed Lidie's story, which begins with Lidie preparing  to leaveJales, Brazil for New York to join her family.  She has been living with her aunt and uncle for 4 years, after the death of her mother and the departure of her father and brother for the United States.

Mad at her father for leaving her behind and disappointed because the men in her family see her only as the little girl she was when they left,  Lidie finds it difficult fitting in to their world.  She's wanted to be with her family so much but once in New York she feels lost:
I lay there listening to the soft clank of the radiator bringing up the heat.  But how quiet this house was.  In our kitchen in Jales, Titia Luisa would be singing as she prepared our rice and beans.  On the porch, Tio Paulo would be clucking over the news in the papers, the pages he'd drifting down the steps. And outside, Santos the dog would be barking as he chased animals he could never catch.  The only quiet one was Gato the cat, up on my bed,  staring down into my face, while Maria the canary...p. 25
  Eventually she finds her own way to communicate all her hopes for her family, even getting her dad to laugh a little.  Lidie just wants them to be together as they were in Jales-happy, talking, sharing in each other's troubles. Immigration and that outsider experience make the book more than just a horse book or a family story.  Rafael and Lidie both share how difficult it is to learn how to fit in to daily life.  Even though this was meant for an older audience-beyond a sweet seven-year-old- PG got it and it created good conversation about being a newcomer to this country.  Peaceful Girl found it difficult to imagine a world without her mom though and thought life would suck with just her dad and older brother. She enjoyed Lidie's strong spirit matched together well with her horse spirit as well.   If you have yet to read any of Giff's books she has an outstanding collection.  Click here for a list of PRG titles.
Highly Recommended
Middle Grade Fiction
4/5 peaceful stars
***Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge***


NatalieSap said...

I don't think I've ever read a Patricia Reilly Giff book - she's one of those authors who I assume must be good because goodness, does she write a lot of books, but I've never actually picked one up. I will have to check her out one of these days!

Tina's Blog said...

This one is sitting on my pile. Do you think Big Sister could read it to herself?

Jenners said...

Our family hosted a Brazlilian exchange student for a year when I was in high school!!! It was an interesting experience and one I'll never forget.