When my oldest and I finished up the final sequel to Sarah, Plain and Tall, I was double-checking that it was the final when I came across a description of Cassie Binegar, another of MacLachlan’s books. Noting that it took place in a house by the ocean easily sold me–I love Patricia MacLachlan, after all–and so I put it on hold at the library, checked it out when it came in, and finally got around to it last week.
Oddly enough, I found that I didn’t love it quite as much as I was expecting, but I think reading it in such small increments is responsible for some of that. After all, I loved Cassie’s friend Margaret Mary, I loved her growth over the course of the story, and the mental picture the book created for me was stunning. Even allowing for the reading difficulty, however, I don’t think it’s her best work. (Which is fine, by the way. Her best work is very, very stiff competition.) Her books are generally short, but this one suffered from the shortness in a way that the others I’ve read don’t seem to. I wanted to know a little more, especially about the relatives, and I wanted to see a bit more interaction between Cassie and her family. (Although to be fair, part of the point is that she feels like an outsider, not because she is unloved, but because she is so different in personality.) Perhaps what I mean is that I quite enjoyed what was there, but I missed a bit of what wasn’t. It’s still MacLachlan, though, which means that it’s still worth reading. Cassie comes to terms with her grandfather’s death and the reality of what her family is (informal and loving) and is not (orderly and quiet), and her resulting ability to understand other perspectives is one that we all hope our children gain.
The curious part came after I finished it. It’s due this week, along with another older title by an acclaimed author (Lois Lowry, this time), and while I finished the one I didn’t get the chance to read the other. I’ve been noticing for a week or more that both titles were in a different font and color than the others on the ‘Item Out’ list on my library account; it took until last night for me to realize the significance of this. I clicked on the Lowry title, intending to put it on hold again, and nothing happened. Hmmm, that’s odd, I thought. I did a title search; the title wasn’t there.
Okay, that’s WEIRD, I thought. I looked up Cassie Binegar, since it was the only other title on the list in black, and then it dawned on me. Duh. Blue means it’s a LINK to something; black means it’s NOT. Which now makes sense, given that these books that I checked out of the library, diligently renewed three times, and still have in my possession, do not appear to exist anywhere in the Salt Lake County library system except on my ‘Items Out’ list. This begs a plethora of questions. Since I want to read the Lowry, what do I do? I can’t put it on hold if the library is pretending that it doesn’t exist. Will they–CAN they–fine me for an overdue book that doesn’t exist, except on my account? Will they just renew it once more by phone? If I try to check it in and then check it back out, what will happen? Are they removing it from the system? Did they notice it because I checked it out–am I responsible for its removal? And really, if they don’t want it, can I have it? (I would wonder if I’m just overtired and somehow missing it, but my friend looked for it, too.)
Tomorrow I’ll give the library a call and see what’s to be done about it. For tonight, I’m just thinking–this really is curious.