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Book Title: Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls|
The author of the book: Mary Downing Hahn
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 737 KB
Edition: Clarion Books
Date of issue: April 19th 2012
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Read full description of the books Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls:mary downing hahn wrote one of my all-time favorite middle-grade books, wait til helen comes. i must have read that book hundreds of times in my blossoming youth. it was the perfectly-toned book full of creepy atmosphere and it just haunted me in the best way.
so i was delighted to come across this book at the library, when i was just going to pick up some books i had placed on hold. i mean, i knew she had written other books, but it was a surprise to see one of such recent vintage.
and i am so glad i made the time for it. this is a very personal book for hahn. the events related are events that actually occurred, when she was a girl in 1955: two girls whom she knew, walking through the woods on their way to school, were shot by an unknown gunman in the baltimore suburbs. this crime rocked the small community, fingers were pointed, but no one was ever convicted.
it is a great piece of historical fiction, but it is not a typical mystery novel. rather, it is more like a judy blume novel,where a girl comes of age and questions her faith and worries about her parents' disintegrating marriage and her future, and whose dreams are unattainable because of something as vulgar as money.
and there was real emotional resonance. it is heartbreaking the way her mother encourages her to go out and be with her friends, instead of moping around all summer. what friends? two have been murdered, and the rest have been shuttled off by their worried parents to get them away from the aura of fear that pervades the community. the only person left is the boy everyone in town suspects of killing the girls. it is so sad, this young girl dealing with so much fear and philosophical turmoil and doubting god in the middle of it all. where is she supposed to go? the woods, the outside are terrifying now, and she has no one to turn to, and even when she turns to a priest, he offers no real help.
buddy's story is no less heartbreaking. suspected but not convicted, he becomes a pariah, with nowhere to turn, clinging to his tough-guy attitude even though he is heartbroken that the love of his young life has been murdered and everyone thinks he could have done such a thing.
this is very atypical YA fiction. there are the romantic fumblings, naturally, but set as they are in the fifties, they are very tame and fraught with the need to be "a good girl" despite the natural hormones of teendom.
all in all, a really great book, but don't go into this thinking it is going to be a nancy drew-esque mystery story with a plucky heroine solving a crime. it is something more rewarding than that.
Read information about the authorI grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland. Our block was loaded with kids my age. We spent hours outdoors playing "Kick the Can" and "Mother, May I" as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom. In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory -- the woods on the other side of the train tracks, the creek that wound its way through College Park, and the experimental farm run by the University of Maryland.
In elementary school, I was known as the class artist. I loved to read and draw but I hated writing reports. Requirements such as outlines, perfect penmanship, and following directions killed my interest in putting words on paper. All those facts -- who cared what the principal products of Chile were? To me, writing reports was almost as boring as math.
Despite my dislike of writing, I loved to make up stories. Instead of telling them in words, I told them in pictures. My stories were usually about orphans who ran away and had the sort of exciting adventures I would have enjoyed if my mother hadn't always interfered.
When I was in junior high school, I developed an interest in more complex stories. I wanted to show how people felt, what they thought, what they said. For this, I needed words. Although I wasn't sure I was smart enough, I decided to write and illustrate children's books when I grew up. Consequently, at the age of thirteen, I began my first book. Small Town Life was about a girl named Susan, as tall and skinny and freckle faced as I was. Unlike her shy, self conscious creator, however, Susan was a leader who lived the life I wanted to live -- my ideal self, in other words. Although I never finished Small Town Life, it marked the start of a lifelong interest in writing.
In high school, I kept a diary. In college, I wrote poetry and short stories and dreamed of being published in The New Yorker. Unfortunately, I didn't have the courage or the confidence to send anything there.
By the time my first novel was published, I was 41 years old. That's how long it took me to get serious about writing. The Sara Summer took me a year to write, another year to find a publisher, and yet another year of revisions before Clarion accepted it.
Since Sara appeared in 1979, I've written an average of one book a year. If I have a plot firmly in mind when I begin, the writing goes fairly quickly. More typically, I start with a character or a situation and only a vague idea of what's going to happen. Therefore, I spend a lot of time revising and thinking things out. If I'd paid more attention to the craft of outlining back in elementary school, I might be a faster writer, but, on the other hand, if I knew everything that was going to happen in a story, I might be too bored to write it down. Writing is a journey of discovery. That's what makes it so exciting.
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