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"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

“My soul, the things children know these days----“ Aunt Hilda sighs in the book.

She’s referring to the fact that her nephew, Davey, knows all about the speed of the earth’s rotation in relation to how it affects the release of a rocket that needs to be set off straight up, according to the rotation and the place the moon will be 4 days from blast-off.

Sigh. I just love these pre-1960’s books. They are as wholesome as a morning’s walk on a deserted beach.

Elizabeth Enright has written a sweet book about a set of cousins who spend the summers together. The two older cousins wander out through the woods one day and discover a collection of big, formerly beautiful homes all deserted and run-down on the edges of a swamp. They discover two quirky old inhabitants of two of the homes: a brother and sister who’ve fallen on hard times and come back to live in these old summer homes. When they were children, they spent the summers here where the swamp used to be a lake. It was a magical time of busy homes, warm summer nights, and long summer vacations.

For cousins Portia and Julian, it’s an exciting place to explore, build a club, and eventually include the rest of the family in.

The only discordant notes in the book are the author’s penchant for referring to the old woman and the old homes as witchy. Also, the book that the children spot on the shelf and think worth of exploration is titled, “Mme. Vavasour’s Gypsy-Witch Fortune Teller.” And to truly upset the modern mentality, the old woman tells a story of how when she was a child, another woman who came to the lake would pick up 2 kittens from a barn-cat litter at the beginning of every summer. She’d care for them all summer long, and then she’d chloroform (euthanize) them at summer’s end. This launched a rescue plan by the children who would then rescue and find homes for the kittens before the end of subsequent summers.

I don’t think it would be an exciting read for reluctant readers, but it’s a good book overall.

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Fortune telling: 2116

Safety Rating: 2 Vatican Flags


Nancy P. April 26, 2009 at 11:48 PM  

The sequel, "Return to Gone-Away" is also very enjoyable. "The Saturdays" also by Enright, is funny and good in the "Gone-Away" style. We have it on audio CD --it's a nice production--and enjoy listening to it every so often.

Anonymous,  April 16, 2010 at 4:20 PM  

This was probably the best book I ever read!
I just wish it was real... And that I could've been there along with Portia and Julian, and when it used to be Tarrigo!

Beblu2,  March 23, 2012 at 3:50 AM  

Good Book! Had to do a report on it.

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