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on February 6, 2000
I am reading, "Where the lilies bloom" at school, and I think it is one of the best books I have ever read. I have read some reviews by people on here who have read this book also and hated it. I don't see how they could hate it. It's about four really poor children whose father eventually dies, and their mother already dead. They have to struggle to keep their father's death a secret, and stop their dreamy 18 year old sister from marrying a so-called "villain". I think this book is really well written, and I hope others who read it share as much enthusiasm as I do. Thanks!
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on June 27, 2006
This book transfixed me like no other has for a long time. The story alone is one that pulls in the reader; how will these four children survive against the odds? Very little money, no adult to help them, and they are trying desperately to live up to promises made to their late father before he died.

But it's the language, the writing that really captivates the reader. The voices are so strong; you can hear Appalachia in every utterance; the cadence is so real. I was with this family -- in particular 14-year-old Mary Call -- for the entire journey, sharing their small victories, aching along with their profound sadness. Mary Call is a strong character; with her steely determination she is a force, a great role model for young girls.

I would highly recommend this book to young readers. It's an absolute treasure.
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on December 6, 2001
This is a must read book. Mary Call is a fighter against all odds...against Luther Call, against the state that wants to split up her family, against death, against poverty, against uncertainty. In the long run she learns the beauty of the gentleness of her more "simple minded" sister. This book makes you think about life and death and poverty and innocence and love. It is a wonderful picture of rural Appalachian life and of the struggles of growing up poor anywhere.
For girls, it teaches "can-do" through Mary Call's example of strength against adversity. May also have appeal to people interested in "wildcrafting" (herbs, roots).
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on March 3, 2004
I read this book the first time when I was a child. I remember seeing the movie and being fascinated by the life of the mountain people - so far removed from my suburban life. The struggles, bravery and ingenuity of the Luther kids is amazing and touching. I think this book is geared to young teens, but I don't think it can be appreciated by most of that age. It is so sad to read the many reviews from the 12 and 13 year old kids here who "hate it" and who suggest books of the likes of Harry Potter instead. Perhaps once they have expanded their intellect somewhat they might be able to appreciate and understand it's beauty and brilliance.
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on April 20, 2004
Where the Lilies Bloom is an excellent book. Our school used it as a book of the month when we studied the character trait of responsibility. It is about a young girl with total responsibility for her family after her father has died. She must also keep the secret of her father's death from all of the neighbors. Mary Call accepts this responsibility and goes on to try and take of here siblings by any means she can. She gathers roots and leaves to provide an income for her family. She keeps her head up and believes she should ask no one for assistance. Our students enjoyed it and I hope you will find it to be a good book also.
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on September 5, 2008
You can tell by the 1 star reviews, that children these days don't have half the imagination it takes to read a book that is not about wizards or witches. This is an excellent book that I read several times as a child, and was recently racking my brain to remember the name so I could find it to read it again. It also goes to show the attitude of today's youth that they can't appreciate the struggles of someone that has to fight to keep their family together and survive.
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on April 29, 1999
There are many books that describe hard, mountain life in the Appalachain region, but above all,Where The Lilies Bloom, is a definate favorite of mine! The reason why I like this book is because it's so down-to-earth and realistic. To me, I think everyone should read this book because it shows real family strength during many situations which seemed inescapable. Some things about the book that I liked were the way Mary Call showed strength, bravery, and dedication in keeping the promises she made to her "papa", Roy Luther Call, and the authors' description of life in the Appalachain region. I like those features because throughout the whole book, those two remained constant. Even though Roy Luther's death brought on a variety of problems, Mary Call bore them all without showing signs of fatigue or despair. She always tried to think each situation through and keep it all under wraps. When a situation was formed. I liked the authors' description because they were so vivid and life-like, it seemed to me like I was eavesdropping on the Luther family problems the whole time I was reading about them. However good I thought the book was in general, there were a few parts I didn't like as much as others. For example, I think that at the part where the roof caved in, the fox should not have been there. I feel as if the fox drew too much attention to itself, and not the problem at hand. If the fox had not been added, I think the part would have went smoother. As a whole, I think the book, Where The Lilies Bloom, os a classic that should and probably will be handed down through the generations! I give it two thumbs way, way up!
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on October 29, 2011
I have a memory of this book burned into my mind from grade school. It must have been my favorite book (though I'd forgotten the plot completely), but I could remember the picture on the cover and it's exact location in my school library. I have memories of me going to it's location and just staring at the cover. So I decided now, in my 40's, to re-read the book.
For 3/4 of the book, I kept thinking, "what did I see in this book? It's so dumb." The parents of 4 Appalation children are both dead, they aren't telling anyone that the father died for fear of being taken away and separated. So they pretend he's still alive, and they try to survive on their own.
But by the time I finished the book, I changed my opinion. I found the biggest lesson in the book (possible spoiler warning) is that people aren't always who you think they are. People you fear, might not be that bad after all. It reminded me of Pride and Prejudice in that way. Mary Call's extreme pride prevented her from seeing growth and change in her sister, and a deeply hidden sense of kindness in the one they thought to be their enemy. So, for the lessons it teaches, I will call it a classic.
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on August 18, 2011
When this book, and the movie of the story, came out, it was back in the 1970s when TV shows like "The Waltons" and "Little House on the Prairie" were running, and lots of folks were interested in getting "back to the land." So it seemed very natural as a kid back then to read a story about a 14-year-old trying to take care of two younger children and a pretty, "cloudy-headed" older sister on her own in the wilds of Appalachia after her father dies. Forced to be mature way beyond her years, Mary Call finds her mother's old book on "wildcrafting" - gathering flowers and herbs for medicinal use - and uses it to eke out a livelihood, struggling to hide her father's death from the "evil villain" landlord Kiser Pease, from school authorities, and from anyone else who threatens to break up her family. Not only do these people have no cell phone, no TV, no mall to hang out in, no fancy clothes - they have painfully few modern conveniences of any kind. Moreover, the book is not clear as to when the story is set; when I first read it at the age of about 12 in the 70s, I was not sure whether this was a "Waltons" Depression-era book, which would have made sense to me based on what I saw on TV, or whether people somewhere in the USA were still living this way. The fact that there is no clear time/ context/ setting for the book makes it simultaneously timeless and also a little bit dreamlike or fantastic.

This is not a super-realistic story, The only characters who are really developed are Mary Call, the older sister Devola, and Kiser Pease. The book doesn't go into great detail about the privations of life with little or no money, or even about the grief the kids (presumably) feel for their late father. Furthermore, just when things look like they're going to get really, really bad and Mary Call is contemplating taking her soon-to-be-homeless family off to live in a cave, an ending which can only be described as "deus ex machina" crops up so the story can wrap up on a (hopefully) positive note. Despite the fact that this is a deeply flawed effort from a pure storytelling standpoint, I liked it as a kid, as it was interesting to read about the wildcrafting and the other ways tough Mary Call worked to keep her family intact. The lack of gory detail also works well from a standpoint of making the story less harsh or scary to young readers than it would be if emotions such as hunger and grief were more rawly portrayed.
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on January 4, 2003
Where the Lilies Bloom was a story set in a rural mountain community. Two stars are left out of my rating because I felt it was very shallow at times. Some things struck me as unrealistic. For an example, in the beginning of the book, the protagonist's sister, Devola, was portrayed as a girl with nothing to her. The protagonist, Mary Call, was four years younger than Devola, but Devola was irresponsible and had her head in the clouds. However, at the end of the book, Devola suddenly underwent an immense change, took charge, and became clearheaded.
Despite the book's shortcomings, three stars are merited because I really admired Mary Call's determination and spirit and the way she never gave up. She was not afraid to stand up for herself or for her family. If I had read this book two years ago, I think I would have liked it much more.
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