Wednesday, February 11, 2004

White Midnight

Calhoun, D. 2003. WHITE MIDNIGHT. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN
0374383898 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

Ms. Calhoun weaves a compelling, fantastical tale about the coming of age of a young fifteen-year-old girl named Rose. Rose grew up in a pre-industrial age when there were no phones, cars, or electricity. The heroine is a bondgirl bound to the land through love and responsibility. The young lady must overcome her fears of darkness and monsters in order to persevere through the troubles she faces throughout the novel. Rose's parents force their daughter to marry the "Thing" that lives in the attic of the landowner's home. She does so to free her family members as well as to protect the land she so dearly loves. Rose has visions that guide her to overcome her fears and work through her prejudices. Moreover, this is an involved novel that deals with war, prejudice, and survival.

WHITE MIDNIGHT is a beautiful, believable light fantasy novel. The author uses rich language and dialogue to tell the story of the plain, courageous Rose. Misconceptions and prejudices cause heartache and tragedy throughout the book. Rose learns she must resolve her inner, personal conflicts before she can save the land she so dearly loves. Societal issues are skillfully woven throughout the novel as well. War between her people and the Dalriadas breaks out because of deeply ingrained prejudices. The young heroine uses her visions to solve major problems in her small community. This is the kind of
book that has the rich, thought provoking themes that readers seek.

Young adults can pick a theme portrayed in the novel to discuss with the group. Inner conflict, prejudice, and nature are just some examples of themes that may be selected for discussion.

Young adults may pick a chapter and portray it on video with group members. Discussion of the portrayal would follow the video presentation.

Other books that can be compared to this one in terms of the love of land:
Mitchell, Margaret. GONE WITH THE WIND. ISBN 068483068X

Other books by Calhoun that can be compared to this one in terms of prejudice:
FIREGOLD. ISBN 1890817287

By Laura K. Davis

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