justice_turtle: Image of the TARDIS in a field on a sunny day (Default)
justice_turtle ([personal profile] justice_turtle) wrote in [community profile] readallthenewberys2013-03-25 06:27 pm

Review: Downright Dencey (Caroline Dale Snedeker)

Summary: Quaker girl Dionis "Dencey" Coffyn throws a rock at town outcast "Jetsam" after he insults her, and spends a very long time agonizing over how to make him forgive her. He uses this to manipulate her into teaching him to read. Eventually, having grown up together, Jetsam initiates a romantic relationship with Dencey.

Reaction: This is a book about unpleasant people having dysfunctional relationships while terrorizing themselves and each other with punitive religion. I don't like it.

(On a different note, this is the first book on the Newbery list to have a female protagonist. It's a shame she had to be this... painfully agency-lacking little thing whose entire character development, as far as I read, centered around being manipulated by A Boy. :P The really snarky part of me wants to say, no wonder this book was recently republished by a conservative Christian publishing house....)

Conclusion: Two stars, for the admittedly very good research and well-handled stream-of-consciousness emotional evocation. The characterization is actually quite realistic too, given the background of all the characters - it's an extremely accurate portrayal of the terribly strangling way over-structured religion causes people to beat themselves up. It's just, all of that seems to be considered a good thing. Including Dencey's drastic lack of agency. O_O

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