Review Blog

Dec 21 2012

Playing Beatie Bow by Ruth Park

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Viking, 2012. First published 1980. ISBN: 9780670076864.
Ruth Park's novel Playing Beatie Bow is a brilliant interpretation of the confusion and hurt a child from a close-knit family will go through when her parents split up, with the added mystery of a time slip between centuries. This well written novel is brimming with detail and an intimate understanding of the characters as well as their time.
The novel follows Lynette (Abigail) Kirk first as she completes the awkward transition between child and adolescent with the added stress of her father's re-involvement in her life. When Abigail takes Mrs. Crown's beastly children to the park and watches them run scared during a game of 'Beatie Bow' a series of events starts to unfold. Unable to speak civilly to her mother Abigail finds herself chasing a little girl along the streets and through time itself until she finds herself, an injured stranger, in 1873. Unable to get back to her own time Abigail must help the Talliskers go about their business until she does whatever it is that she was brought back in time to do. With a few scuffles, a kidnapping and a hint of romance Abigail finds herself growing both physically and mentally as she prepares herself for her return home.
This wonderful novel set in the nineteenth century is one which I would recommend for children of middle school age and older as it is a quaint little classic showing the implications of vanity and the importance of generosity and kindness to all people.
Kayla Gaskell (age sixteen)

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