Saturday, February 6, 2010

Matilda Bone

Author: Karen Cushman

First line: Matilda stood before the scarred wooden door and stared at the bright-yellow bone painted there.

Why you should read this book: Cushman returns to the Middle Ages with the story of a young orphan raised by an indifferent priest to read and write Latin, equate enjoyment with sin, depend on hagiography for life lessons, exhibit obnoxious piousness, and consider herself above the gross material world. When she is dropped off, more or less without explanation, and forced to become an apprentice to Red Peg the Bonesetter, Matilda finds herself woefully unprepared to function in the real world or accept the friendly overtures of the common, sausage-eating people she meets. The young girl must shake off her elitist upbringing and discover who she really is, or doom herself to a life of painful isolation.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You require a houseful of servants to attend to worldly concerns like laundry and marketing so that you can devote yourself entirely to higher callings.

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