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Blessen Paperback – April 11, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Blessen, the principle character and the narrator, lives in south Louisiana. As the story evolves, there is a mother, a grandfather, an aunt and uncle, and even a chicken. There is cooking and eating, a pirogue and a bayou, sadness and joy, sickness and death. There are mishaps and blessings, and secrets and disclosures. The young girl Blessen teaches us how to love -- how to love family and friends, the world around her, a late-returning father, and even a chicken.
Ten-year-old Blessen LaFleur and her Momma live on True Friend Road in St. Martinville, Louisiana, in a FEMA trailer--after Hurricane Katrina sent a water oak through the roof of her grandpa's house.
With her thick, curly brown hair and brown skin, Blessen--whose name (slightly altered) comes from the book of Genesis in the Bible: " ... thou shalt be a blessing"--wonders why she doesn't look more like her fair, blonde mother. "That's how God made you, Blessen," is all her mother says in explanation.
Blessen dreams of who her father might be: a knight on a horse, or simply a man who will one day come to their door and sweep Momma into his arms.
Summer is hot in South Louisiana. Blessen has chores, but also loves to read: Nancy Drew in The Hidden Staircase. Blessen's aunts and mother are all named for flowers (Rose, Gardenia, Magnolia, and Wisteria)--her Momma is Gardenia, and "smells strong and sweet like the flower ... but when she's mad, she gets hot and red like the red hibiscus."
Besides the color and local customs of Teche country, what stands out most in this lovely book is the voice of Blessen herself--as she makes mistakes, reaches out to those around her who love her, and seeks forgiveness and understanding in her personal quest [not giving away the plot here] to find satisfying answers.
The Reader's Guide in the back of the book offers discussion questions for individuals or groups--an "added value" to this touching and skillfully written story.
Isabel Anders' latest book is Spinning Straw, Weaving Gold: A Tapestry of Mother-Daughter Wisdom.
This is a coming-of-age story set in bayou country, a locale that is deftly and tautly described; e.g., “The night sounds are scary and loud; cicadas, mourning doves, and frogs fill the air with a sad song…” and arresting metaphors such as “the sun rises like a dagger to the dawn…” Birds, flowers, and insects are also tautly drawn; e.g., the latter description: “The cicada buzz rises from the trees. It starts as a soft buzzing, then builds with more vibration, like a motor, then dies out, and begins again…”
Simon employs vivid concrete detail in the description of her characters: “Miss Ella Mae wears an American flag that flows in and out of her lumpy middle across her white T-shirt. The Fourth of July is a few weeks away, but Miss Ella is ready. Her black wig is in a hip style with red hairpieces sprouting like fireworks from the top of her head. She looks like the Fourth of July herself…” Young adults will love that passage!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lovely, delicately sensitive, eloquent, and heart-moving book about a girl growing up in Louisiana. No reader will forget it, and I will return to it for regeneration.Published on December 29, 2012 by W. Blevins
I finished reading Blessen yesterday, it was a sweet, beautifully written book. A real little girl making her way through life that sometimes adults can complicate. Read morePublished on November 25, 2012 by JM Stokes
I enjoyed the book tremendously. The relationships between the characters were well developed and intriguing; they allowed exploration of a topic that is not often addressed but... Read morePublished on November 8, 2012 by Laura L
Inspirational story! Well written, great for all ages!! Blessen was a courageous young lady who accepted all that life had to offer.Published on September 30, 2012 by Gigi
I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely and wise book! Margaret Simon's characters and lush scenery are so very vivid, and she deals tenderly with the issues of loss, death, hope, and... Read morePublished on September 2, 2012 by TheRevMelly
Margaret Simon succeeds in only the first few pages in showing readers how young "Blessen" fits in with her close knit family and her familiar south Louisiana surroundings. Read morePublished on July 30, 2012 by Geri Ingram
"Blessen" is a captivating and touching book. The poor, southern world of this young girl is beautifully described, and the author captured my heart with descriptive text and... Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by Erin
<Ms. Simon's book deals with complicated issues, somewhat typical of the "deep south". I would compare it with "To Kill A Mocking Bird". Read morePublished on July 15, 2012 by inspector1000
I loved,loved, loved this book! I really liked the characters and the mention of local landmarks. Anxiously awaiting the sequel....Published on July 9, 2012 by Courtney S. Ransonet