Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Keeper is like an onion with lots of layers or perhaps a rose with endless petals.  The story is structured like a spiral with lots of repetition and flashbacks.  Each of the one hundred and twenty chapters gives a tiny glimpse of the plot.  Reading this book is, as I said in my last post, quite a challenge. As a reader you need perseverance but if you give this book time the final scenes are brilliant.

Keeper is convinced her mother is a mermaid.  As a small baby she has been left in the care of Signe, a young girl who has previously run away from home.  Other adults in her life are Dogie, a young man damaged by his experiences as a soldier and Mr Beauchamp her elderly neighbor who was once a seafaring man.  She also has the companionship of her her faithful dog called BD (Best Dog), a seagull called Captain, Sinbad, Mr Beachamp's cat and Too, Dogie's dog.

As the story opens Keeper is leaving her tiny community in search of her mother.  Keeper needs advice.  It has been the night of the blue moon but all the special things have been ruined.  Singe's gumbo is spoilt, the crabs have been set free, Singe's special bowl has been smashed, Dogie has not sung his special two word song and Mr Beauchamp's night-blooming cyrus has been knocked out of its pot on the one night of the year when it was due to bloom.

I was curious about this flower so I thought I would include an image of this cactus.

It seems things cannot get any worse for Keeper so she prepares a twenty-six step plan, gathers her special wooden mermaid figures carved by Mr Beauchamp and with her dog BD by her side she rows out toward the open ocean.

Here is the trailer - no words just wonderful images.  Here is an excellent detailed review.

If you read enjoy Keeper you might also look for the Ingo series by Helen Dunmore, Everything on a waffle by Polly Horvath and the Emily Windsnap series by Liz Kessler.

Deftly spinning together mermaid lore, local legend and natural history, this stunning tale proves “every landscape has its magical beings,” and the most unlikely ones can form a perfect family.

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