The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech (2012)

On Sunday afternoon, I met Lizzie at her church so we could go over our duties with Mrs. Mudkin for helping the poor, unfortunate elderly. If you saw Mrs. Mudkin you might wonder why she herself was not on the list of the poor, unfortunate elderly (p 59).

greatunexpectedNaomi and Lizzie are two orphans among the many in their town of Blackbird Tree. Lizzie is a chatterbox and Naomi is curious. A perfect friendship… until a boy named Finn falls out of a tree. As the story of these two young girls develops, another story, set in Ireland, unfolds. It is a story of two sisters, charmed and cheated by the same man.

While the writing is lyrical, as many have pointed out, and while Lizzie and Naomi are delightful and fully developed, I was completely bored while reading this. A short novel that I should have tackled in one sitting took me four days. It wasn’t exactly a fantasy (though fairy rings are mentioned and though Finn appears to be a ghost) and it isn’t exactly a fairy tale retelling. It seems to be a satire in the style of Louis Lowry’s The Willoughbys but this isn’t entire true either. I wasn’t sure what this was going for and I walked about with the impression that it was more an experiment than a finished product.

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