Friday, August 11, 2006

A True and Faithful Narrative

I have two measures for a really good book: will I read it walking down the street? Does it make me mean enough to glare at my husband when he dares ask how my day was, in the middle of the page? Sturtevant achieved both marks here with her compelling and gripping historical fiction.

I'm just going to steal here from Monica Edinger's posting to child_lit:

"Sturvetant has done her research and does a lovely job giving her readers the flavor of the time, but there are two aspects to the novel that make it truly shine for me. First of all, a good chunk of the book is of Meg listening to Edward, a young man who was captured by Barbary pirates, describe his time enslaved in North Africa. It is fascinating stuff, but by having Meg react as would a girl of her time to his description of Muslim beliefs and actions and by having the young man help her to understand them better, Sturtevant has also helped today's young readers understand them better as well."

"And secondly, there is what Meg does when she writes Edward's story for publication --- adjusting points for reasons she explains to him, deciding what can be eliminated, what needs to be changed slightly, and so forth with the final objective of creating something that will attract readers. According to Sturtevant ( see "Fact, Fiction, and the Stamp Act" on her website:, the problems of fact and fiction in writing were problems in the 17th century as much as they are today. And so Meg ponders, " I might make from such material a narrative that would both honor the teller and satisfy the needs of the told; how I might related enough of truth that our readers would scent it, and draw near, as a doe to water, but not so much tat it would frighten them away with the sound of its splashing." (p. 238)


Blogger Monica Edinger said...

Yay! I'm over the top that you liked it as much as me!

6:40 AM  
Blogger Jess said...

I completely agree - I couldn't put it down.

12:04 PM  

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