Sunday, July 8, 2012

Favorites: Treasure of Green Knowe

Treasure Of Green Knowe
Returning to a childhood favorite means meeting yourself across a span of years, sometimes being delighted in your young sensibilities, sometimes appalled at your youthful indiscretions. I've loved L.M. Boston's Green Knowe series since my aunt first gave me the first copies, and I've always regretted not managing to share them with my sons. I found a hard copy of Treasures of Green Knowe on my TBR book case, and that was today's reading. Little me, you sure recognized good stuff.

I was a little nervous about the racial implications of the plot -- Treasures involves a young black slave taken from Barbados to England soon after slavery in England has ended. Would the suck fairy have visited this book? Or even would I have problems reading it with my more sensitive understanding now? Actually, I think this book holds up quite well. Boston treats each child (Tolly, Susan, Jacob) with the same respect and care, letting each one be the subject of its own story even as they interact with each other and their worlds.
BarockSchloss CC License
The language itself is beautiful, the relationships wonderful, the interplay between fantasy and reality brilliantly done. I met myself a few times as I read, vividly recalling passages that had stayed with me all my life (Toby and Jacob in the chimneys, the hair picture, the blind girl in the trees), and smiled at my younger self a few times, such as during one of the Granny's stories in the evening, which turns out to include things about Toby himself; at the time I thought she deliberately picked a story that reflected him, but of course she was making up the story while she told it, so she knew exactly what details to use. Child me had never even thought of that, since I spent most of my time figuring out the motivations of the kids, not the adults.

I think I'll see if I can interest my kids in a read-aloud when they get home, or at the very least, I know my next pick for a family book club.

No comments: