Review Blog

Oct 29 2018

I am out with lanterns by Emily Gale

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Penguin Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780143782766
(Age: Adolescent) Recommended. Setting her writing soundly in the modern world of a big city, Emily Gale plunges us into the blogs, posts, and the multiple places of internet connection that we use to connect with others, while slowing us down to read the more traditional story-telling mode of the novel. The painted name that begins each section of this novel is reflective of the artistic world of the young people whose stories connect, clash and describe their world.
The short pieces told by young people whose lives intersect through school, family or district, told in the first person, speak of the dreams, hopes and sorrows that they have endured. Gale's work draws together the interconnected world that links the writers, ultimately focusing on the world of the adolescent, on how different families are defined, by one or two parents, by parents who have separated, and by parents of the same gender. The ultimate quest of each writer is to discover what the world means, how do we cope as human beings, in our desire to find life's meaning, all grounded deeply in Emily Dickinson's poetic writing, I am out with lanterns, looking for myself. Her references to the works of Oscar Wilde, Artemisia Gentilcore, and the quirky Latin saying, 'Boys will be boys', ground her work in the philosophy of considering what it is that we must do to make our lives good, meaningful and fulfilled.
This novel demands thought, and its gentle consideration of our differences, our concerns and our quest to find life's meaning, lifts us into a self-reflective mode that enables us to be present more fully in the world. It is beautifully written, with a deep and loving understanding of our human dreams, foibles, passions and love.
Wonderful for adolescents, and a source of understanding of the mystery of life, particularly that of the intersecting years of childhood and adulthood.
Elizabeth Bondar

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