Wednesday, April 11, 2012

That Wise Green Man

Published: April 10th, 2012
The Green Man
By: Michael Bedard
Tundra Books
ISBN-13: 9781770492851

Teenaged O – never call her Ophelia – is about to spend the summer with her aunt Emily. Emily is a poet and the owner of an antiquarian book store, The Green Man. A proud, independent woman, Emily’s been made frail by a heart attack. O will be a help to her. Just how crucial that help will be unfolds as O first tackles Emily’s badly neglected home, then the chaotic shop. But soon she discovers that there are mysteries and long-buried dark forces that she cannot sweep away, though they threaten to awaken once more. At once an exploration of poetry, a story of family relationships, and an intriguing mystery, The Green Man is Michael Bedard at his finest.


   O (never Ophelia) is feeling kind of on the fence about staying with her Aunt Emily for the summer, while her Father researches his book about Ezra Pound in Italy.  Once she sees her Aunt's bookshop, The Green Man she feels a sense of purpose.  She also comes to feel fairly close to Emily as time goes by, sharing a love of poetry with her.  Aunt Emily hasn't written poetry or had readings at the shop since her heart attack but O wants to change that.  Emily has a dark secret that has plagued her since childhood, one that comes back around to haunt her like clockwork.  So far she's made it out alive, but this summer the magician will come back.  Can O save Emily and herself from the clutches of evil?  Is her new, mysterious friend Rimbaud involved?  And will they all make it out alive?  This was a pretty interesting book.  To be honest, I really felt like the inclusion of magic and the good vs. evil struggle was unneccesary.  Just reading about O's coming of age woes, her budding poetry and Emily's struggles with getting old was worth the time.  These characters leaped off the page and into my heart.  I felt like the magic detracted from the inherent magic of the poetry involved in the story's core.  I don't know how Bedard managed to capture the pain of being a fourteen year old girl, but he did - and it was well done.  This was a slow moving, yet beautiful book that I would recommend.

VERDICT:  4.25/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published April 10th, 2012.*

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