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By Singing Light

Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.

Currently reading

The Lost Tools of Learning and the Mind of the Maker
Dorothy L. Sayers
The Seventh Bride
T. Kingfisher
Hope in the Dark
Rebecca Solnit
Outrun the Moon
Stacey Lee
Midnight Thief
Livia Blackburne
The White Hart
Nancy Springer
The Great Wall Of Lucy Wu
Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Jim C. Hines
Elizabeth & Leicester: Power, Passion, Politics
Sarah Gristwood
What I Saw and How I Lied - Judy Blundell http://bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/what-i-saw-and-how-i-lied-a-review/

by Judy Blundell

Evie is just another girl, growing up in New York City in 1947. When her stepfather decides that their family needs to take a trip to Florida, unexpected events begin to occur and soon Evie's world begins to crumble around her.

A lot of people really, really liked this book. I can see why they would. The characterizations are skillful, the setting and evocation of an era are superb (I was so happy that Blundell managed to do this without wedging in all her research). I wasn't as wild about it personally. I can pinpoint several reasons.

First, Evie never quite seemed real to me. Somehow her voice did, but she didn't. I think it was partly because she was just a little too perfect. Not that she isn't often wrong, because she is. But her reactions to things like segregation and anti-Semitism were just a little too enlightened and modern for me to wholly believe them.

Second, I felt like the time difference between the voice narrating and the Evie who is the character throughout the book didn't work. There wasn't enough distance. If Blundell had set it up as an older Evie looking back at this from several years away, that would have worked. But as it was, it sounds like it's just a few weeks or months after the main events.

Third, I called some of the plot points from a mile away. Now, granted Evie is not supposed to be the super-smart brain that figures everything out and in fact a lot of the story hinges on her blindness. Still, I could tell what certain characters' motivations were almost instantly. I think it's one of those problems with storytelling. If the events actually happened to me as they do to Evie, I wouldn't have called it because they would just be all part of everyday life. But as they are in the story, more weight is given to them and therefore they begin to look Significant.

All in all, I enjoyed reading it, and I liked it, but I didn't love it.

Book source: my school library