From the Lighthouse

From the Lighthouse

5.0 1
by Elizabeth Chipman, Ronald Radosh
     
 

The river, the lighthouse, and her family are all that thirteen- year-old Weezie Bloom has ever wanted or needed. Not so for Ma, who, without warning, leaves forever. Healing is slow, but the family survives, guided by their father's strength and love. Weezie narrates the changing seasons and evolving moods of a year without Ma—a transforming year at the

Overview

The river, the lighthouse, and her family are all that thirteen- year-old Weezie Bloom has ever wanted or needed. Not so for Ma, who, without warning, leaves forever. Healing is slow, but the family survives, guided by their father's strength and love. Weezie narrates the changing seasons and evolving moods of a year without Ma—a transforming year at the twilight of the Great Depression. With language as glorious as the autumn landscape on the banks of the Hudson, Weezie's richly textured story will appeal to generations of readers, transporting them to the lighthouse that Weezie proudly calls home.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
For many it is hard to imagine a more picturesque setting to grow up in than along the Hudson River. After all, every year thousands of tourists flock to upstate New York to travel on boats down the River, tour its famous mansions, and gawk at its magnificent scenery. It is easy to forget that with all of that beauty, bad things can still happen. For thirteen-year-old Weezie Bloom, the scenery is both beautiful and tragic. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the novel spans a year in the lives of Weezie, her three brothers, Sid, Clayton, and Rudy, and their father after her mother has unexpectedly abandoned them. In conjunction with the change of seasons, the book chronicles the change of emotions that tear through this family, as its world has been ripped apart. Told through the eyes of Weezie, it captures the voice of a teenage girl who is forced to develop a maturity and an insight into the cruelty of life she was not expecting. Although not a light read, it is an inspiring one that delicately weaves a heart-felt story. 2004, Penguin Young Readers, Ages 12 to 15.
—Sheree Van Vreede
VOYA
On a typical autumn day in Hudson, New York, thirteen-year-old Weetzie Bloom and two of her brothers arrive home from school to learn from their youngest brother that their mother has left home for reasons unknown. The year is 1938 and home is a lighthouse in the middle of the Hudson River. In predictable fashion, Weetzie becomes a mother to her brothers and father. The family deals with trials such as oldest brother, Sid, running away, being found inexplicably, and unwillingly brought home by Mr. Bloom. They also cope with the untimely death of the middle brother in a boating accident. There are happy times as well, such as a spontaneous family picnic. Weetzie's naivete about her mother's return is countered throughout by Sid's realism in knowing that she is never coming back. In the end, however, Weetzie, who loved to sing but lost the heart for it after her mother's flight, finds music again. This novel presents a superficial look at a year in a family's life without their mother. There is little character development. Weetzie's father periodically displays compassion but never anger about his wife. Weetzie unaccountably realizes that she can be happy without her mother. The two surviving brothers are not developed at all. The locale and date of the story are of marginal importance. Chipman's prose is descriptive, but younger readers in grades six through eight can handle and deserve a more gripping, emotional story. This book is for middle school and public libraries with a few extra dollars to spend. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2004, Dutton, 192p., Ages 11 to 14.
—Ed Goldberg
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Chipman uses the real-life starting point of a lighthouse near Hudson, NY, for her imagined story of a lighthouse keeper's family during the Great Depression, from fall 1938 to fall 1939. The narrator, 13-year-old Weezie, has one older and two younger brothers. Without any warning, while the children are at school, Ma leaves the family. She is dissatisfied with her life and the limited view from the lighthouse, which she deems ugly. This leaves their father to carry on without her. The eldest brother rebels and runs away, but Dad brings him back, demonstrating that they are still a family. The children hold out hope that their mother will return, but they finally realize that she is not coming back. They all work together, though one more disaster befalls them: the middle brother dies in a boating accident. While two such devastating losses might be hard for readers, this is ultimately a hopeful book with quiet strength. Weezie comes to see that her view from the lighthouse is different from Ma's; she sees beauty and feels content. An author's note gives historical background about the lighthouse and offers resources for further study.-Laurie von Mehren, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brecksville, OH Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Hudson River is bright with the colors of fall, but when 13-year-old Weezie's mother takes off, it's only the beginning of dark times for her and her family. Determined to hold the family together, Weezie takes it upon herself to look after the household, take care of her brothers and father, and make sure that her father doesn't lose his job as lighthouse keeper. As the year passes, each of them learns valuable lessons about family and love. Slowly, the family begins to pull itself together and then another tragedy tests their strength once again. While the story is one that's becoming more and more familiar, there's appeal in Chipman's rich description of life in a lighthouse in the late 30s with its unique problems as well as the moments of near poetry that can be found by those who had to have a certain spirit to take it all in stride. In her debut, Chipman proves to be a writer to watch. (Fiction. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525473121
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
10/21/2004
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.81(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story! Ms. Chipman has captured the soul and spirit of Weezie Bloom. The story is simple, yet complex enough to appeal to teens and adults. In a life that has been destabilized, the metaphorical lighthouse provides enduring strength and light. Ms. Chipman's character development is extraordinary, and the description of the evolving maturity and growth of this wonderful young girl is palpable.