12 September 2014

Dicey's Song : 1983 Newbery Award

The beginning of March 2014 I started a new undertaking: reading every single Newbery Medal Winner book. A number of them I have read in the past, but I am reading them with fresh eyes,and reviewing them for others. I am not reading them in order, as some will require some effort on my part to find them all. Want to keep track of which books I read? Check them out at Confessions of a Wannabe Reader!

CynthiaVoigt Dicey'sSong.jpg
Cover of the book - used for identification purposes only under the fair use clause
Dicey Tillerman : Keeping at Arm's Length

"You've been responsible a long time and done a good job.  Take a little rest now."

Dicey Tillerman is thirteen and lives with her three siblings James, Maybeth, and Sammy at her grandmother's house in the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland, a place they had only recently moved to.  For so long, she has had to take care of siblings, having been abandoned by their mother in a parking lot in Massachusetts.  She feels lost having someone else do it, but Gram is determined to be the parent, as well as keep her own past hidden from her granddaughter.  Dicey's mother, living in Boston in a psychiatric hospital, is no better than catatonic, and the news worries Dicey and  James.  The family has to stay together, and that to Dicey means keeping others out.  But people like Maybeth's music teacher Mr. Lingerle, the slow shop keeper Millie, and fellow students Jeff and Mina, find their way into Dicey's heart and into the family fold. Dicey soon begins to learn that maybe taking care of others means letting others take care of her as well.

Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt is the second in a series of books written by the author.  Like Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, this book's resolution isn't really a resolution, but rather a interlude in the lives of the Tillerman children.  The book leaves you wondering what will happen next.

Dicey, the eldest of four, is consumed with worry.  She worries that her grandmother won't be able to care for them.  She worries that her little sister Maybeth won't be able to live a normal life, and that James and Sammy won't be able to fit in.  She worries that her mother will never be coming home or that she will take them off somewhere else to fend for themselves again.  She toughens herself up so that people can't get in, since so many people have left her, that she resists and fights when Mina, Jeff, Mr. Lingerle and even Millie find their way into the family.  

Dicey also has to learn to let go but still hold on.  For most of her siblings' lives, she has been their mother, and now that they live with their grandmother, Dicey must learn to stop being the mother in the other children's life.  Grandmother warns her that she must learn to continue to hold on though, something that confuses Dicey.  It isn't until she starts letting others into her hear besides her siblings that she learns what Grandmother means, and also learns that her grandmother is speaking from experience.  

This was the first book I could recall reading from this author, and I did enjoy it.  I am not sure thought if I want to continue on in the series.

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