Novels by Patricia Reilly Giff range from enjoyable to incredible, which is why I was elated to note the release of Jubilee. I started it right before I left for RI last week, kept reading in the airport until it was time to board–and then conked.
Did I mention that my flight left at 12:15 AM?
I slept–restlessly–for most of both flights, and when I arrived in Warwick (the actual site of the Providence airport, if you’re interested) I wanted nothing so much as to be HORIZONTAL. (It’s been a decade or so since I last took a redeye, and my neck and shoulders were supremely unimpressed with my two middle seats.) My hosts/friends/surrogate grandparents brought me back to Scituate, tucked me in (so to speak) with a glass of water at my side, and let me rest as long as I could; when I got up, the woman who changed my diaper, taught my fifth grade class, and spent $17 to park at the airport and pick me up made me a veggie and Provolone omelette to die for. Talk about heaven! I spent the afternoon wandering roads I’d walked and biked on as a child, and then settled in to finish my book and go to bed, my hosts having a long evening commitment. And therein lies my ignominious failure.
I couldn’t do it.
I had fifteen pages left of a 149 page book, and I couldn’t do it.
This is what happens when you’re a 37-year-old mother of four and a redeye flight makes your 20th high school reunion affordable. You start to read the same sentences two and three and four times, and your eyes keep closing of their own accord, and you finally admit defeat and throw in the towel–er, bookmark.
The good news, of course, is that I finished it in the morning, and while I didn’t love it with the fierceness that I did Nory Ryan’s Song, Pictures of Hollis Woods, or All the Way Home, it was still excellent. Watching Judith on her island–off the coast of Maine, no less! Bliss!–was a beautiful thing, and seeing her blossom as new people and understandings enter her life was heartwarming. I did wonder about her mutism–I’ve read a few books by a teacher who worked with children with that struggle, but Judith’s had a different feel–but the plot was still lovely. And the range of subject matter gives Jubilee broad appeal, so, bottom line? Make sure you don’t miss this one!