Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner

I read this book several weeks ago. The main character is a wealthy college student who choses an eccentric part time job in much the same way she chose her college - in order to buck the conventions and trappings of living a rich girl lifestyle. Daddy is amused. Little rich girl meets her new boss, a tight-lipped little old lady. Little old lady sets rich girl to work transcribing an ancestor's diary. The diary was written during the events of the Salem witch trials by a woman who eventually falls prey to the hysteria of that century and becomes a victim herself. Little rich girl becomes emotionally involved with the diary, and the little old lady. Eventually, she must save the day for the vulnerable little old lady while at the same time coming to terms with her own prejudices and nievety in her dealings with a potential love interest and her college roommate, as well as finish an important project for her father. Little rich girl has her plate full.

This was an easy read which might suit high school students and serve as supplemental literature for those who are studying The Crucible in their English classes. In many parts, I found the fictionalized diary exerpts in the voice of a fictionalized victim of the Salem witch trials to be more engaging and interesting than that of the main character's narrative, however, again, high school students may relate to her better, and she may serve as a guide for them to this part of American history. And I'm all for students becoming interested in history, or, anything other than video games, really.

For me, if Meissner had simply written a historical novel solely in the voice of the Salem witch trial victim, I might have found it a deeper read. Those were the best parts. I just didn't care for this little rich girl main character. - 2 stars

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Another one that sounds interesting and like I might want to try it. The Salem Witch trials were fascinating. I haven't read too many books about them, but I'd like to read more.