The new homeroom and English teacher, Miss Lightstone, writes intriguing messages and questions on the board, beginning with: ‘[I am] Miss Lightstone. Who are you?’ Gina Filomena and her classmates wonder how they should respond to it. Gina writes a short pen portrait of herself, mainly about her occasional lack of attention in class, and this forms the first chapter of Sharon Creech’s novel. Indeed, by the time we meet Miss Lightstone herself, we have already learnt a lot about Gina in her own words and she remains our guide throughout the novel. She has a mischievous guardian angel, Lucia, who is the star of Gina’s Italian grandmother’s stories, but who steps decisively into Gina’s life. And Gina tells us about her fascination with her smiling new neighbour, Antonio, a fascination which is quickly shared by her classmates. Through Gina, we observe life in her neighbourhood and her classroom; we come to know herself, her family, and her friends and neighbours; and we gradually learn some answers to that first question posed by Miss Lightstone: who are these people and, for the children, what might they become? Most of all, the novel is about the power of the imagination to shape lives and this is the gift that both Miss Lightstone and Antonio bring. I do have some misgivings about novels whose narrators turn out to be budding writers, but there are some fine precedents and perhaps this too is an exception. It is elegantly written in short chapters, funny, and sharply and warmly observed. It delights in individuality and idiosyncrasy and encourages its readers both to follow their own dreams and to treasure the rich variety of the lives and dreams of others.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2022-05-20 08:00:242022-05-20 08:00:35One Time