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smashed_potatoes' Journal

Thursday, August 4, 2005


By Jennifer Holm

Boston Jane: An Adventure, written by Jennifer Holm, is a story of the hardships of pioneer life for a city girl in the American Northwest around the end of the 1850’s. In the beginning of the book the main character, Jane Peck, quotes her father saying, “… you make your own luck.” As she finds, though, making her own luck in a wild new territory is not as easy as she may have thought. Throughout the story, Jane is experiencing the difficulties that help change her from a prissy city girl into a courageous, hardworking, and much wiser person.
Boston Jane: An Adventure, the first book of a trilogy, is an adventure about a sixteen year-old girl, Jane Peck. Jane is a lively redheaded who sails from her home in Philadelphia around South America to a little town called Shoalwater Bay in the Washington Territory. She mainly leaves to marry her father’s apprentice, William Baldt. However, she also goes to escape other frustrations, particularly a seemingly perfect girl who has made it her purpose to make Jane’s life as miserable as possible, a situation Jane, the a city girl, thinks is too annoying to handle.
Aboard the schooner The Lady Luck, a violent storm breaks out, causing Jane’s best friend to become very sick and leading to her death. The body is thrown into the water, and the trauma of losing her best friend upsets Jane badly enough that she blames herself for the loss.
When Jane finally arrives in Shoalwater Bay, she realizes that William has left the town unaware that she has accepted his offer of marriage. Because William is not there, Jane has to do work around a flea-infested trading post in order to earn a place to sleep while she waits for her fiancé to return. After a cow eats all of her clothes, Jane is forced to trade for garments with the local Chinook chief’s wife, Suis, and the two become very good friends, something Jane would never have thought of doing while living in Philadelphia.
Through the days she waits for William she is haunted by the ghost of her old best friend, Mary. Mary seems to have become a ghost because her spirit is angry with Jane for not making sure the girl’s body was given a proper burial, but Jane is not so sure that this is the reason. At first, Jane just denies that there could be a ghost, but after a while she stops denying it and faces the fact that she is being haunted. She then confronts the ghost, something she would surely have shrunk away from if she were still a Philadelphian girl. From Mary’s spirit Jane finds that her dead friend is indeed angry at having her body dumped into the sea, but other more immediate worries soon take precedence over the haunting.
Shortly after this, smallpox gets transmitted to some of Jane’s friends, who unknowingly carry the disease to the rest of the tribe. Because of this, almost all of the Chinook die. As the only relatively healthy person, Jane is left with the unhappy task of tending the sick and burying the dead. As a result of the death of her mother Suis, the chief’s young daughter Sootie becomes very attached to Jane. After Jane buries Suis, Mary’s ghost stops haunting Jane because she has decided that Jane has been tortured enough. Jane is left to grieve for both her old and her new friends more peacefully, while still trying to make something of her future.
During William’s absence, Jehu Scudder, the first mate from the Lady Luck, falls in love with Jane, and she with him. However, he goes away when she rejects his offers, as she is already engaged to marry William. Later, she realizes that she was mistaken in her expectations of William; he never actually loved her and has already married someone else. Jane sees that he had only ever wanted to marry her in the first place for financial reasons. Because of this, and the thought that the only man who ever loved her has left her forever, Jane leaves Shoalwater Bay for San Francisco. From there, she plans to take another schooner to Philadelphia and her father’s house, though she begins to realize how badly she will miss Shoalwater Bay and her friends there.
By the end of the book, Jane has realized how truly difficult it is to live in a new territory, and how easy it is to take the pleasant things in life for granted. She has learned what it is to experience hardship and heartache, and has come through, a stronger woman for her experiences. In the end, her father’s saying about “making your own luck” definitely applied to Jane, because she gained the courage to make the right decisions even in unbelievably difficult situations. Put another way, what Jennifer Holm was communicating through this book is that every day is a chance to learn something new, even if that learning is not an easy experience, and that chance is the same no matter what time you live in.
Reading about Jane’s difficult journey helped me to realize that my own life really is not as difficult as I sometimes think it is. Seeing Jane working to exhaustion just for the chance to eat gave me a better understanding of the hardships of territory life, in contrast to the modern comforts most of us enjoy. Though overall the writing was not remarkably deep, Jennifer Holm’s character portrayal in the story was very good. I especially enjoyed the way the author developed the gradual changes in Jane’s outlook and abilities through the story. It was interesting to see someone who was an incompetent girl slowly transform into a woman full of courage, wisdom, and the capability to be useful even in a undeveloped territory. I would highly recommend this book to anyone for its truly excellent main character and its fascinating portrait of territory life.

pick a leaf

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

9:46PM - spindel's end by Robin McKinly

k this is a version of Sleeping beauty. in this version the king and queen have the baby. they give he 21 names, so he also gets 21 godparents. on her name-day the evil fair Prnicia, comes and curses her on acount of that she has a grudge against all the born-into-being-queen queens of their country. so kat, a fairy from the GIG (a county of that country) stands up and says she will take the prinsecc. so she leave the cassle to hed home with her . once there her aut and her self raise her. durring this time she lerns to be a black smith, and when 19 fallis in love with her master (Narl). than 3 months befor her 21st birth day a guy comes and takes her and her friend to a nerby caslre thingy to prepare for the birthday ball, when her curse will ofisholy be over. they (meaning her friend, herself, her "ant, Kat, and the guy") deside to say that her friend, Peony, is the princess, as Peony has alredy fallin in love whith the prince, and looks the part, as rosi, the princess, is fare from a proper princess. once the ball comes Peniccia comes, steels Peony, and than they (Rosie, Narl and all her animal friend, who she tallks to) have to go find her. and from hear on you have to read.

I give it 8.5 / 10 because I likesd it, but it lost points because of over use of the word "and"

pick a leaf

Saturday, June 11, 2005

1:48PM - Pride and Predudice, by Jane Austin

WOOT WOOT!!!!! first review.
k so I read Pride and Predudice in 2004. I started it because my oldest sister, Camille, had to read it in her senior class, and was enjoying it.
It is a fictional novle, about a girl in the 1800s, full of Pride,and inclined to fall to predudice.
After being slited at a dance by a hansome man, she desides she will hate him forever. This act causes her to be so set in her hatred that she does not question the bad storys she is told by a "friend". She gets so convinced that this man dispises her that she does not relize that he is taribly in love with her.
her hatred depens when she relizes that this man is responcible for perswading her sisters boyfriend to dump her sister.
him, not relizing that she hates him, proposes to her. in this proposel he telles her that he has loved her against his will, angainst his principels, and against his better judgement. as you can see, this was very insulting. so she declines the offer, but wishes him to renew his adresses, when she fals in love with him whil touring the derbishire (where he lives) with her aunt and uncle. but he is not able to, as her sister runs of with and offiser but does not get married (so obviosly she living, unmaried, with him). this insedent causes her to have to returne home. I would tell more but i just runed 3/4ths of the book for you. if you want to know the end e mail me. yellowtaubbyboy@yahoo.com

9.7 / 10

pick a leaf