- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (February 24, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060287047
- ISBN-13: 978-0060287047
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson Hardcover – February 24, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Dana writes as if Emily Dickinson were speaking, chronicling her life from age 9 to 24. She fervently considers grave questions of God and death, women's roles, her susceptibility to rampant tuberculosis, and her discovery of the power of words. Meticulously researched, the novel conveys a convincing portrait of this well-brought-up upper-class Amherst girl who became one of America's best poets, and it brings various friends and family members—and pets—to life as well. The sense of time and place are spot-on and appealing, evoking vivid images reminiscent of Louisa May Alcott. Unfortunately, there is almost no story line and little sense of structure, making large portions of this tome drag on with repetitive sentiments, none of which are satisfyingly resolved. The result is a title for limited purchase.—Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library
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Dana’s novel Young Joan (1991) envisioned Joan of Arc’s youth. This title imagines the life of another famous woman, Emily Dickinson, moving from the poet’s girlhood into her young-adult life. Dana spent 10 years researching this title, and the novel’s historical and domestic details sometimes threaten to overwhelm the story; indeed, finding drama in such a quiet life is certainly challenging. Dana succeeds by creating a memorable, often vibrant voice in Emily’s first-person narration, which incorporates archaic language and lines from Dickinson’s poems and journals. Readers may recognize themselves in Emily’s initial terror over puberty, her intense friendships, and her curiosity about young men (“the Whisker Set”), while her ambivalence about marriage (“We give our lives to this man, but what of ours?”) and her literary aspirations form a strong feminist thread that will also draw YAs. An obvious choice for curriculum support, this heartfelt, exhaustively detailed portrait humanizes the reclusive literary figure and offers an intimate sense of how a poet draws from small moments, “gathered on scraps,” to create great works. Grades 8-12. --Gillian Engberg
Top customer reviews
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By immersing herself in Emily's poetry, prose, surroundings, and numerous biographies, Barbara Dana seeks to answer these questions in a first-person, fictional narrative of Emily's life from age eleven to twenty-four.
A VOICE OF HER OWN portrays Emily as a vivid, social, intelligent child; spending days and nights with family and friends, tramping about the idyllic town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite numerous bouts of illness, anxiety attacks, depressions, and the frequent loss of loved ones, Emily always retained a passion for the natural world, not to mention a fierce drive to improve both academically and as a poet.
It took a long time to read this novel, not because I didn't enjoy it; quite the opposite in fact, because A VOICE OF HER OWN became my daily treat of Godiva chocolates. Whenever I wanted a quiet moment to savor the beauty of nature, or revel in contemplation of a slower-paced way of life, I'd pull out Barbara Dana's book and dip into the possibilities surrounding Emily Dickinson's formative years.
Ms. Dana did a superb job of capturing Emily's voice and spirit, making this novel a truly joyful read and definitely one for the keeper shelf.
Reviewed by: Cat
If you are interested in Emily Dickinson this book is a great one to read. Through the book you will learn about the person behind the poems!