Eidi: The Children of Crow Cove, Book 2

 
Quiet story of independent girl has mature themes.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Some details on life in the country, including spinning wool, knitting, and what's sold at a marketplace.

Positive messages

While there are some serious mixed messages in this book, Eidi ultimately champions the idea of being true to yourself, despite a troubled past, challenges ahead, or who your parents are. Eidi used empathy and conviction to guide her actions throughout the book. The book expands the idea of family beyond husband/wife and their children, as it portrays people who choose to live together despite biological ties. 

 

Positive role models

The main character, Eidi, is independent, fair, hard working, and empathetic. She sets out on her own to make money, saves a little boy from a wonton existence, stands up to injustice, and takes risks for moral reasons. Rossen is a kind, stable, and protective, and is the most reliable adult in Eidi's life.  While other adult characters have redeeming qualities, they also have serious flaws.

Violence

Men drink and then become violent/abusive. Eidi's stepfather hits his wife, and had previously given Eidi a scar on her forehead. Bandon gets angry easily, boxes Tink on the head, throws Tink into the cellar, and leaves him there. A violent storm causes a rock fall, and Rossen gets hit by a rock on the head, though he survives.  A brief mention of Doup and Ravnar's mother dying by falling into a boghole.

Sex

No sex is described, nor are there any romantic encounters.  However, Bandon says, "The women used to like me..." and he knows he has fathered many children, though he doesn't care to raise them or take any responsibility. The story depicts pregnant women without husbands, mothers raising children without fathers, and children being raised by non-biological adults -- such that almost all the kids in the story are either orphaned or don't know who their fathers are.

Language

Only "damn it."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Burd carries around a bottle and slurs his words as he hits his wife. Bandon drinks much red wine, which sets him to anger.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this quietly intense story of lost souls coming together has mixed messages. While Eidi and Rossen are admirable characters, there are others who will require discussion. Bandon drinks and becomes abusive (and in general abusive, drunk men are common), and is known to have fathered many children, though he takes no responsibility for them. Other characters who seem strong or kind somehow excuse Bandon and say he is not all bad. When Eidi finds out who her father is, it brings into question the moral stature of her own mother. And when Lesna begins spending time with Bandon, readers may be confused why such a strong lady is attracted to that kind of man. Parents need to know that this book portrays men, women, and children who have left homes and families to begin new lives from fractured ones, though it isn't always clear why they have started over.

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What's the story?

When Eidi's mother has a new baby, Eidi feels there is no more room for her in the settlement. She leaves Crow Cove to make her own way in the world, hoping to find and help her old friend Rossan. Rossan and Eidi journey to Eastern Harbor to sell wool, and on the way, Rossan gets hit by falling rocks. After Eidi settles him at the home of his sister, she encounters a pompous rich man named Bandon at the market who offers her a job in his home as a weaver. At Bandon's home, Eidi encounters Tink, a waif boy in Bandon's care, though Bandon ignores him and abuses Tink, especially after Bandon drinks. When Eidi sticks up for Tink she incurs Bandon's wrath, prompting Eidi to hatch a plan to take Tink away and travel into the countryside.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

EIDI is poetic and languid, and resonates with simple yet vivid descriptions and sparse yet full characters. Time and place are not discernable, yet readers will feel both. (Kathryn Mahaffy has done an elegant job of translating from Danish.) There is a sense of intrigue, though the story is not a mystery. Readers of Crow-Girl, the first in the series, will immediately know the backstory and characters, but first-time readers may struggle with names and events which affect this story.

Though the plotline feels subdued, some mature themes are a bit jarring. Indeed at times the story seems to be a patchwork quilt of lost children at the mercy of unthinking adults. But Eidi is a strong, admirable character who will resonate with fans of the series.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the abusive men in this story. Burd and Bandon have kindness in them, but also drink too much and become abusive and violent. What is the role that alcohol plays in this story; how has it affected Eidi's life and those around her?

  • Eidi seems to be guided and warned by sounds in her ear. Do you have an inner voice? Have you been in a situation when your inner voice was telling you one thing but you did another? Can peer pressure be stronger than our inner voice?

  • Why is Eidi willing to give up the security and kindness of Rossan and Lesna to save Tink?  Do you know other strong girl characters in movies or books who have faced ridicule or danger in order to do the right thing?

Book details

Author:Bodil Bredsdorff
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:October 13, 2009
Number of pages:144
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:10
Read alone:12

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