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Safekeeping Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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From School Library Journal
“The realistic treatment of the experiences of ordinary people in suddenly harsh circumstances makes for an absorbing character study, and the tale is suffused with an understated sadness and a vivid sense of place.” ―BCCB
“Hesse offers some of her best in lavish descriptions of nature and mood…” ―Kirkus
“Hesse (Brooklyn Bridge) beautifully captures the changing landscape of a journey…” ―Publishers Weekly
“A masterfully written powerhouse of a book.” ―School Library Journal, starred
“Mature high school students will especially appreciate this book, perhaps as they embark on the next step in their journey of life.” ―VOYA
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Top Customer Reviews
None of that turned out to matter, though. What this book mainly is, is a quietly introspective look at the things that we value. And it works very well. Radley reflects on how her parents gave her everything she needed, and wishes deeply that she had shown more appreciation. She wonders how she can make a contribution to society. And she cautiously develops new relationships in a dangerous and unfamiliar world. Looking at the themes that are developed, and how Hesse manages to do it in a way that doesn't feel heavy-handed, I can understand why she's won a Newbery medal for her previous work.
This book also includes an element that I personally always love: setting up a home in an isolated place with minimal supplies, and developing it from a basic shelter where one struggles to survive to a comfortable place that really is a home. It reminds me of stories about homesteading, and the Boxcar Children, and people shipwrecked on desert islands. Again, the survival element is done quietly, without a lot of intense struggle, but I found it very satisfying all the same. This is a powerful book in its understated way.
Safekeeping is set in present day after the US government has become unstable and a new, military government takes over. The news we see every day about unstable governments in third world countries is suddenly the US and that eerie sense of the familiar really sets the tone for the whole story. Radley comes back from charity work in Haiti to find that things back home has deteriorated at a rapid rate. The story, told in small chunks of narrative, knits together a story of one teen girl who might have been just a tad spoiled and follows her journey back to her parents. The "what if" aspect f this book was very gripping and a little on the scary side, quite frankly. The entire first half of the book is Radley alone which drags it down just a bit, but the story gains some depth when Radley meets up with emotionally damaged refugee named Celia who provides some perspective to Radley's story.
I saw a lot of different themes running through this story. The first thing that struck me was Radley's development from a teen with the comfort that she will always have someone to rescue her into someone who must learn to rely on her own wits and resources. The second aspect of the story that I noticed was how fragile everything we have is in our lives. The government was fragile, the societal structure was fragile, lives were fragile but even with that realization, Radley and Celia discover that they are stronger and more resilient than they imagined. Where the strength of institutions failed, the desire of the individual to survive proved to be strongest of all. Despite their dire situation, they are still able to find kindness which gave a bleak situation a ray of hope that kept the story from becoming too downtrodden.Read more ›
Why I chose this book: I read a Hesse work in library school, and this one seemed appealing.
With her parents', teachers' and school administrators' blessings, Radley has been working as a volunteer in an orphanage in post-earthquake Haiti. While she is in Haiti, the President is assassinated and the American People's Party takes over the government of the U.S. This new government comes down hard on the people; vigilante groups, police raids, and looting abound. Illnesses believed to have been conquered return because people are in close, unsanitary quarters.
Radley returns to her New England home town after she hears of what has happened, but her parents aren't at the airport to meet her. Her phone isn't working. Her credit card has been cancelled. She has none of the required travel papers. She walks to her own home and hides there for a time - scurrying into the attic at the sound of police - then decides that she must walk even farther: to Quebec.
Another young woman, Celia, has joined Radley, and they find an abandoned schoolhouse in Quebec to survive until things calm down in the US, if not forever. They are quietly helped by a benefactor known during most of the novel as Our Lady of the Barn.
Though this novel has political overtones, it is more about what Radley learns during her time on her own. She learns not to take her parents, or anything else, for that matter, for granted anymore, and the rather spoiled teenage girl who left for Haiti becomes a strong young woman. Readers will wonder when or if she will be reunited with her family.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well, poufff! That was an awesome simplistic, short read! It is really geared at teenagers and all but as an adult it did not prevent me from appreciating it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ali Thomas
If you are looking for a quick and interesting read, definitely take advantage of the used book price on this one. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Serena
Not another distopian full of crazy unrealistic antics. These are characters that are true to life. I was so touched. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Melissa
This book was great. I loved the detail and it was so interesting I just couldn't take my eyes of it! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.Published on December 15, 2013 by A. Stahly
I'm amazed at how Thomas put together this memoir. It is a series of fragmented memories--various takes, sometimes in first person, sometimes in third--from her three marriages... Read morePublished on July 18, 2013 by Julene Bair
I was so impressed with Safekeeping. I saw on the cover that Karen Hesse is a Newberry medalist and I can see why. If this book does not win an award, I will be surprised. Read morePublished on July 14, 2013 by Kelli of I'd So Rather Be Reading
SAFEKEEPING by Karen Hesse
The pictures are lovely, the story is at first depressing, but then hopeful. Read more
Radley's life is in upheaval, to say the very least. She returns home from volunteering overseas because she's concerned for her parents' safety in the new American regime, but... Read morePublished on June 10, 2013 by Melissa (i swim for oceans)
I read "Safekeeping" not long after finishing the "Hunger Games" trilogy, and although both books are about America after a violent social breakdown, they're very different. Read morePublished on April 7, 2013 by Silicon Valley Girl