Book review for The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu
(G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, March 3, 2020)
Beautifully written, this is a vivid story of yearning woven amidst musical imagery that elicits emotions and experiences right along with what the protagonist is living. It’s a bit Narnia, with its secret passageway to a magical world, a bit “Beauty and the Beast” and the tangled overgrown cursed kingdom that needs liberation, and maybe even a nugget of “Amadeus” and the deep struggles of Salieri.
Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, is a person to care about, to root for, and to feel pain with. Her life is oppressed by the sexism of her time and she is shackled by the destiny of becoming a housewife, sacrificing her talent equal to that of her famous brother. Her struggles are relatable by anyone who recognizes the truth of unrealized dreams. And speaking of dreams, this story is full of them, and the experience is like none other I’ve read. Nannerl’s first person descriptions let us enter that ethereal world of her dreams and actually experience them as though we are there too—not like when a friend retells a dream and we can’t know how it felt since dreams are so personal, but like we’ve been in her subconscious (or is it?) with her, watched the air ripple our vision, heard the music ooze from the flowers, felt the frost blow cold across our skin. The story is compelling, but the prose alone makes it worth the time.
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Life with Quadruplets
As a mother of quadruplets, I've had plenty of crazy experiences raising "supertwins." I blog a lot of memories about my kids. Sometimes just my thoughts on things. I get those sometimes—when my brain works. Which is about one third of the time.