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A Girl with a Mind of Her Own
on July 20, 2012
I know that you'd like me to tell you about this book, but I prefer not to...Or so I would say if my name was Margaret Rose Kane! However, it's not, so I'll indulge your curiosity! The book, as you may have guessed, centers on a very incorrigible young girl name Margaret Rose who, having refused to participate in many of the group activities offered by her summer camp and having been treated cruelly by the clique that inhabits her bungalow, is returned back to the home of her two Hungarian uncles by an irate camp director who thinks she's the queen of her own little domain. Margaret's unexpected arrival at her uncles' home, necessary due to her parent's summer trip to Peru, sets about a cascade of events that leads to a memorable summer. The uncles, who have spent much of their lives in America building beautiful metal clock towers in their backyard and decorating them with glimmering glass pendants, have been fighting a losing war against the destruction of the towers: a war they've hidden from Margaret. When she finally learns of the local homeowners association's determination to raze the structures in order to "raise property values" and contribute to the "historical redevelopment" of the neighborhood, Margaret is incensed and determined to prevent the tragedy at all costs. She recruits a varied cast of characters - including the son of her former camp director, on whom she has a bit of a crush, and a big, lovable dog named Tarufo - to aid in her rescue mission. Her attempt is fraught with many heart-breaking as well as hilarious moments and often feels doomed to failure. Margaret's spirit is strong and not one to break, even in the face of a force of firemen and angry city officials, but will it be enough to save the towers?
Although this book wasn't quite as fun as the other Konigsburg books that I enjoyed (I think I was spoiled by the delightful From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), it was a nice one to listen to with my parents during our weekly jaunts to the supermarket and the beach. Margaret is a bit of a brat, but she's a likable one whose spirit the reader can't help but admire. Her supporting cast of characters, including her adorable uncles and their dog, round off the book nicely. All in all, the book was a good read that teaches several basic truths including the importance of remaining true to oneself even in the face of cruelty and prejudice. I was disappointed with the ending but felt that it fit with the entire theme of the book and reinforced the theme that, though life isn't always perfect, we can still find beauty and meaning in it.