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Maud Martha Paperback – October 1, 1992
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When Maud Martha Brown is seven years old, what she likes even better than "candy buttons, and books, ..and the west sky" are dandelions: "Yellow jewels for everyday studding the patched green dress of her back yard." Maud Martha's nine-year-old sister, Helen, is heart-catchingly beautiful; Maud Martha comforts herself with knowing that what is common - like the demurely pretty dandelion with "only ordinary allurements" - is also a flower. Through pithy and poetic chapter-moments - "spring landscape: detail," "death of grandmother," "first beau," "low yellow," "everybody will be surprised" - Maud Martha grows up, gets married, and gives birth to a daughter. Maud Martha, a gentle woman with "scraps of baffled hate in her, hate with no eyes, no smile..." who knows "while people did live they would be grand, would be glorious and brave, would have nimble hearts that would beat and beat," is portrayed with exquisitely imaginative and tender detail by Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen
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The story follows Maud Martha and her riotous parade of human feelings. Along the way, the reader is introduced to various characters that have affected Maud one way or another.
Meanwhile, it is easy to fall in love with Maud, she is loyal to those she loves, she is smart, and she makes the most mundane of things interesting. However, what really shines in the book is the writing. The language captures you through graceful and poetic prose.
This is one book where the sum of the material is better than the individual chapters. Once you finish the novel you will realize the powerful message that Gwendolyn Brooks evokes.
I give this novel four out of five stars.