Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Hattie Big Sky - Dee's Thoughts
Excerpt: Hattie Big Sky - Chapter One
December 19, 1917
Miss Simpson starts every day with a reminder to pray for you—and all the other boys who enlisted. Well, I say we should pray for the Kaiser—he’s going to need those prayers once he meets you!
I ran into your mother today at Uncle Holt’s store. She said word is you are heading for England soon; France after that. I won’t hardly be able to look at the map behind Miss Simpson’s desk now; it will only remind me of how far you are from Arlington.
Mr. Whiskers says to tell you he’s doing fine. It’s been so cold, I’vebeen letting him sleep in my bedroom. If Aunt Ivy knew, she’d pitch a fit. Thank goodness she finally decided I was too big to switch or my legs would be striped for certain.
You should see Aunt Ivy. She’s made herself a cunning white envelope of a hat with a bright red cross stitched on the edge. She wears it to all the Red Cross meetings. Guess she wants to make sure everybody knows she’s a paid-up member. She’s been acting odd lately; even asked me this morning how was I feeling. First time in years she’s inquired about my health. Peculiar. Maybe this Red Cross work has softened her heart.
Mildred Powell’s knitting her fifth pair of socks; they’re not all for you, so don’t get swell-headed. She’s knitting them for the Red Cross. All the girls at school are. But I suspect the nicest pair she knits will be for you. You must cut quite the figure in your uniform. A figure eight! (ha, ha). Seriously, I am certain you are going to make us all
Aunt Ivy’s home from her meeting and calling for me. I’ll sign off now but will write again soon.
Your school friend,
Hattie Inez Brooks
There are so many things to love about Kirby Larson's Hattie Big Sky. Let's start with the name. Hattie. Hattie is my grandmother's name. How can I not love a book with my grandmother's name in the title? I can hear her voice now. "Vat's dis? A book with my name? It must be a goot one." And it is, grandma. It is.
Beyond the title though, are the details. I'm a detail person and I love the unexpected, not so obvious dangers that presented themselves to Hattie. Like her hand getting frozen to the water pump. So real. So unexepected. It's the little things in life that jump out at us and get us when we're not looking. The details. And there are many more details that jump up and grab Hattie when she's not looking. Yet she overcomes them doing what she does best. Just being her. While the ending isn't maybe what some readers might hope for Hattie, it left me thinking - "Yeah, that's life, perfect in its imperfection." Hattie is a character we all can relate to and should aspire to.
Beyond the title, and beyond the details, is the story. A story of a young woman who goes to Montana and tries to homestead some land left to her. There's mystery, conflict, danger, and a little bit of romance. What's not to love? So as my grandma, Hattie, would say, "Vat's dis? A book with my name? It must be a goot one."