What parents need to know
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.
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?
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?