Posted by: jeannineatkins | January 16, 2008

What I’m Reading: Letters from Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes

Yesterday I cross-country skied on some lightwhite snow in the woods near our house. Coming back to the dirt road, I heard my neighbor call my name. She was walking with something small, orange-ish, and wiggly in her arms. A new puppy in the neighborhood! I got to sniff that soft soft fur. My big dog tried to lick her, but, as Parker is maybe twenty times her size, little Fiesty was timid. Though curious. Then my neighbor’s daughter, coming home from school, met us and at that sight the little puppy nearly wiggled right out of the mom’s arms, tail flapping like mad, till it cozied up with one very happy girl who traded off clarinet case and books to mom.

Then I got back to work. I thought I was writing but I suppose I was revising, so I might need to latch onto Jo’s jbnowles revising-in-January club before it ends. What is that writing/revising line? I guess it’s all sort of revising until we let it go.

At the end of the day, I went to bed with Letters from Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes. This was a case of loving somebody’s blog, even beyond its wonderful title –Read, Write, Believe – and so I looked for her novel, which did not let me down. I loved the letter format, and the yearning for a father, which reminded me of my ancient love for Jean Webster’s Daddy-Long-Legs (which I have no idea how would hold up these some hundred years later). The hole due to a missing parent also had the poignance I found in Susan Taylor Brown’s susanwrites Hugging the Rock. The main character here is funny in a real girl way, she’s not letting anyone pull one over on her, and she uses language like a dream. We start out, for example, in the Homework Club, “which isn’t a club at all. It’s two tables in the cafeteria. Oh, and one faded black and white signs that reads: STUDY HALL! IT’S WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!!” The blend of her no nonsense outlook and the hurt she contends with is beautiful. The novel explores various metaphors of captivity, while in the end Cadence/Rapunzel mostly wants to tell her story – with zesty humor and we really want to hear it.



  1. All sorts of joy in your day yesterday!
    Letters to Rapunzel is a fabulous book, and so is Hugging the Rock. Two fantastic novels by writers who handle sad things without being maudlin. Enjoy the rest of Letters.

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