Today is also a first! This is the first time I haven’t read the book (or short story) ahead of time. Truly I have only read the first seven chapters and then made myself stop so I can write this post. I was going to do some research on background or info on the author but I was afraid I might see a spoiler alert, and since I think I’m one of the few who hasn’t read this, I didn’t want to spoil it for myself. I’ll do some research the last week :).
I’m now going to start discussing the book, so if you don’t want any spoiler alerts, avert your eyes.
My first thought was, “Why have I never read this book?!” My second thought was, “Kit reminds me of Mary from The Secret Garden.” We read The Secret Garden two summers ago. You can read the posts and our discussion here, here, here, and here. I had read TSG many times before that, but it was the first time I’d thought of Mary as a TCK. In both cases, Kit and Mary experienced tragic losses of key adults in their lives, had grown up privileged outside of their home culture, were educated, and went to a distant country to live with a relative they had never met in person.
Interesting how both books included two other children: the “nice” (Dickens and Mercy) and the “cranky” (Colin and Judith). Also both books had a child who was “crippled”—same word used in both — but in one book it’s the nice child and the other the cranky one.
What other young adult literature or grown-up books did The Witch of Blackbird Pond make you think of?
At this point in the book, my feelings towards Kit are all over the board. I’m sorry for the amount of loss she has experienced. I’m impressed with the ways she stepped up after her Grandfather’s death and had to settle all of his financial affairs. I’m concerned that she might become trapped in Connecticut at such a young age because she has so few options. I’m annoyed at the ways many girls and women were so constricted by their gender (okay, this isn’t Kit’s fault and I know also true of many girls and women today).
As a TCK (or for those of us adults who are TCP), Kit is almost textbook:
- She had experiences others can’t fathom. (What? You can swim? You can read?)
- She had different perspectives on things like the purpose of reading. (From chapter 2: John speaking, “But the proper use of reading is to improve our sinful nature, and to fill our minds with God’s holy world.” Kit stared at him. She pictured Grandfather, the blue-veined hands caressing the leather binding, and that she knew that he had not cherished his books with any thought of improving his sinful nature.)
- She had a confidence and willingness to act.
- She also misinterpreted several situations such as floating meant she was a witch, not that she was an capable swimmer. Or when William visited and said he was “building a house” and Judith asked Kit, “Don’t you know anything?”
I also identified with Kit at how exhausting it can be to learn a new culture. I think we’ve all been there where we talked ourselves through a boring situation thinking we made it through! Hallelujah!!!! Only to find, nope, there’s more to come. When Kit found out there was a second service on Sunday, my heart sank a little bit with hers. I’m sorry Kit! At that point she wondered, “Why have I come to this hateful place?” No matter how awful or wonderful your location is, we have all wondered that at different times or stages of life.
Kit is also quite insightful. When she recoiled at Mercy being described as “cripple” because she saw how Mercy really was the glue that held the family together, I thought “Yes. We too may see things others miss because we have fresh eyes.”
What else have you noticed about Kit and either TCK or cross-cultural themes? I laughed at her uncle’s response to all the luggage. Hehehe, I too, have traveled with more luggage than others thought I needed.
See you in the comments friends!
Next week: Chapters 8-15 and the following week we’ll finish the book with chapters 16-21.
The last week of February we 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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