This month our book club reminds me of the Reeses’ commercials from the 80s. If you’re reading this in an email, you can enjoy seeing old Walkman’s and poofy-ish hair here.
Instead of “Hey you’ve got your peanut butter in my chocolate,” I think it’s more like “You’ve got your Blackbird Pond in my Secret Garden! Mmmmm delicious.”
As you know, this is my first time reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond, but as a child I was obsessed with The Secret Garden and reread it every spring. Last week I couldn’t help but notice all of the similarities between Kit and Mary. This week I could’t help but notice more:
- Kit found the meadow and in it, a place to go and sort out her feelings. Mary had the garden and she’d spend hours alone before she discovered the secret garden.
- Hannah Tupper reminded me of Dicken’s mother. Not only did they both like to talk using the word “thee”—”Thee has been homesick.”—they both were wise women. And in both cases they were more of the social outcasts. In Hannah’s case because of religion and though much less for Dicken’s mom, because of her being a so-called simple and uneducated woman.
- Both books mention the healing power of animals with Hannah and her kittens and Dicken’s ability to be an animal charmer.
- As a sign of the times, both books talk about magic and charms.
- Mary and Kit are both more than willing to have frank discussions with people in power.
You can see why I thought of the Reese’s commercial! I’m thoroughly enjoying reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond, in case you couldn’t tell. It is its own story and though it reminds me of The Secret Garden, there are plenty of ways it is different. In brief, the characters are old so love interests are involved, the political environments are unique, and the religious take on Mrs. Tupper being a witch.
As a side note, and really, isn’t the part of the point of book club, to read something and it be the avenue for us to share a story or a thought? I haven’t finished the book, so I’m not sure where the Hannah Tupper/witch plot line is going, but a recent event in my own life (not my personal life, someone I know) is a bit too much like an “Evangelical Modern Salem Witch Trial.” I didn’t realize we have our own tidy-on-the-surface version of these kind of events. Are women, in western societies still demonized under the name of “church discipline” in ways that really seem counter to what God would have them treated? Obviously, this is a button for me right now. And an area of sadness, so I’ve been watching how the community is reacting to Hannah with this situation in the back of my mind.
On to Kit! Our TCK/TCP. Wow, it was in this section I could see why Elizabeth suggested we read this book together. Thank you Elizabeth!
The meadow near Blackbird Pond being a special place of solitude and reflection for Kit. We understand the need at times to retreat—be it into a bedroom, a walk outside of the village we live in, the smell of a candle or drink that reminds us of somewhere else. What currently is your “meadow”?
“Why, ’tis coral!” Kit exclaimed. “How did it get here?”
That unexpected feeling of finding something from another place and so quickly it floods you with memories and longings. I found Hannah Tupper to be so kind and insightful with her “Thee has been homesick.” Tears sprang into Kit’s eyes. No one, since she had come to America, had really wanted to hear about her grandfather . . . She scarily knew where to begin, but all at once she was finding eager, incoherent words for the happy days on the island.”
Hannah gave Kit the gift of listening and then took her out back to show her the flower that had grown from a transplanted bulb. Oh the images!
In chapter 12 I marked when Kit said, “This is the way I used to feel in Barbados.” I so appreciated the honest conversation Kit was able to have with Nat when he asked if she regretted coming and she said sometimes yes and sometimes no. Again, I think we can understand the rich depths to Kit’s feelings. Nat’s metaphor of Kit being like the bird he saw in Jamaica was spot on. “I can still see the green feathers if I look hard enough. But they’ve done their best to make you into a sparrow, haven’t they?”
Hannah ministered to people with “blueberry cake and a kitten.” When has food or an animal or small child been used to comfort you as you adjust to a new place or stage of life?
I haven’t even touched on the match-making that is going on (or how I think it is all going to shift!) or the political backdrop. Comments? Thoughts? Guesses?
If you want, eat some chocolate, peanut butter, or a Reese’s as you read and comment 🙂
Next week we’ll finish the book with chapters 16-21.
The last week of February we’ve got a treat with a children’s book and author! She and I were communicating today about the plan! Lots to look forward to in our current book and future ones to come :).
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