Sunday, February 21, 2010

Book Review: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Unfortunately I had already seen the movie and although it was at least a year ago, the actors were still stuck in my head.

Regardless of that, the book was great. It is short but Ms. MacLachlan doesn’t use any extra words. The spare language perfectly reflected the simple life on the prairie. I had to wonder to myself about the courage and audacity of a woman like Sarah who was willing to move across the country during what I assume is the late 1800s by herself just on the possibility of this marriage working out. It’s not precisely an arranged marriage but in some ways it’s even more risky – no one has said that these two people might actually like each other. What struck me as the overriding commonality between Sarah and Jacob is their straightforward and practical personalities.

Of course the heart of the story is Caleb and Anna. The story is told from Anna’s point of view, and while, as an adult, I know that Jacob’s relationship with Sarah will also be of vital importance to the happiness of this family, her relationship with the kids will of course be primary.

I loved Sarah’s descriptions of Maine, the details about her cat Seal, and how she tries to tell Caleb and Anna about the sea. I have been to Maine, and it’s amazing in the simplicity how she captures it so perfectly.

Sarah, Plain and Tall is a beautiful, poetic story. I did not read this book as a child, so I don’t know how differently I would have reacted to it. As much as I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I’m sure I would have loved it. This is a touching, thoughtful, quiet novel.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

1 comment:

Billy Burgess said...

Great Review! Sarah, Plain and Tall is a good book.