Friday, July 11, 2008

The Braid by Helen Frost

I read The Braid because it is on the Tayshas List, a recommended reading list by the Texas Library Association. It got great reviews on Amazon, but I have to say it didn't leave much of an impression on me.

The book is very short - around 90 pages, so I was able to read it in one afternoon. The story is of a Scottish family in the 1850s who are evicted from their home. The entire family is supposed to emigrate to Canada, but one sister hides so that she can stay behind with her grandmother, who is moving to a nearby island. The night before the family departed, the sisters braided their hair together and, when she left, Sarah cut the braid and left half with her sister and carried the other half with her. The family encounters much hardship on the way to and in Canada, while Sarah, the sister who stays behind finds love, and, in a different way, also hardship.

The book itself is very clever. It is narrated alternately between two sisters, Jeannie and Sarah. Each narrative section is accompanied by a poem featuring some aspect of the previous narrative. At the end of the book, Frost explains the form of the book, which is quite complex. In fact, I need to go back and look at the book before returning it to the library, as I think knowing this about the book will make it stand out more in my memory.

I do recommend this one, especially since it is such a short read. While the strength of this book is in the clever format, I would have enjoyed a longer novel more I think, in order to get to know the characters more.

This book fills the F author spot for the A-Z challenge.

1 comment:

Debi said...

Well, you've definitely left me intrigued...