Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mable Riley

From My "Borrowed Books" Shelf . . .

I just finished a very good book from the library entitled, MABLE RILEY; A RELIABLE RECORD OF HUMDRUM, PERIL AND ROMANCE, by Marthe Jocelyn. The book is published by Candlewick Press, and the copyright is 2004.

This is the story of Mable, a teenage girl who, in 1901, goes with her older sister who is embarking on her first teaching job. The school where Viola will teach is quite a distance from their home and family, but Mable is glad of the opportunity to travel and is longing for adventures. Mable is to attend school and also act as Viola's assistant with the younger students.

Mable and Viola board at the home of a farmer, his wife, and a grown son. Mable eventually makes a couple of friends at the school, and meets a neighbor lady, who is considered by the godly Methodist community as being a "bad apple". But Mable likes Mrs. Rattle, and very soon is pitched into an adventure that she didn't really bargain for, because Mrs. Rattle and a few other ladies in the community secretly hold suffragette meetings. Mable actually becomes involved in a strike on a local factory, almost ends up in jail, and eventually helps bring about a satisfactory ending to the workers' problems.

There is a bit of romance in the story, too, for Viola and for Mable. The book is written in the form of a diary, written by the title character. This form does not interfere with the flow of the story at all. Within Mable's diary entries are absolutely wonderful little poems and a serial story that she writes for her school friends back home and sends in letters to her best friend.

This is a book written for young adults, and can be found in the juvenile section of your public library. I find that quite often I crave a good novel written for the young adult, and this one fit the bill. I would highly recommend it.

The author says she got the inspiration for the book from reading the journals of her maternal grandmother, written more than 100 years earlier, even though her grandmothers' story was nothing like Mable's. Jocelyn says on the back flyleaf, "They are detailed accounts of unremarkable days, but hidden on the back pages are her terrible efforts at poetry...., but I am ever grateful for her need to record the particulars of ironing collars and the selection of hair ribbons."

1 comment:

deshelestraci said...

I love YA fiction and tend to pick it over adult sometimes.  Have you read A Great and Terrible Beauty?  Loved it.