Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Book:  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Author:  Jacqueline Kelly
Like/Don't Like:  Enchanting

You know how much I love a plucky young heroine.  Someone who breaks against the norms and is figuring out how to stand out in the world.  Calpurnia fits the bill.

Calpurnia Tate, or Callie Vee as everyone calls her, is the middle child of seven and the only girl. It is the summer of 1899 and she discovers 1. that her grandfather isn't as intimidating as she always imagined and 2. she has the mind of a scientist.  A little reminiscent of Girl of the Limberlost.

There isn't that much of a story, it's mostly little vignettes from a few months of her life that show her relationship with her family and how she deals with the expectations put on young girls at that time - knitting and cooking and such - even though all she really wants to do is look at plants and bugs with her grandpa.  The real joy of this book is that the voices are so, so clear.  Each character is distinct and real.  Each scene could have happened exactly as it was written.  Because there wasn't a story to follow I would put it down for a few days without thinking about it.  But each time I would pick it back up I would be sucked in.  It's just one of those really pleasurable books to read because you like everyone and everything about it.

I'm putting it into the category of books I wish had been around when I was a young girl.