Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Matilda Bone

Title: Matilda Bone
Author: Karen Cushman
Genre: Children's/Young Adult Historical Fiction
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Matilda, an orphaned teenager, has been left at the door of a bonesetter by the priest who has practically raised her to stay, work, and learn while he goes to London to return who-knows-when. Matilda thinks herself far above Red Peg, the bonesetter she is left to help, because she, unlike Peg or most people in Peg's town, can read and write Latin, French, and a little Greek, knows all the saints and most of the demons of Hell and knows her numbers.

Little does Matilda know that the life she has found herself dropped into has much to teach her, both in temporal and in spiritual matters: Life is not meant to be dour and "holy"-fied; sometimes folk wisdom is better than empty book learning; good friends are better than dead saints.

Although Matilda starts the book off very annoying in her sanctimonious self-righteousness, she drops the attitude as she begins to learn the value of street-smarts and folk wisdom. Matilda Bone is similar to Cushman's other books, "Catherine, Called Birdy" and "The Midwife's Apprentice" - even to the point where I could predict several plot points from knowing those books. It's not as good as "Catherine" and is probably on par with "Apprentice."

2.5 stars: I would have liked it so-so as a kid, but it's not something which would have stuck with me like good childrens' books have.

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