Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Darkness Under Water by Beth Kanell


This gripping, ultimately hopeful tale of an Abenaki-French Canadian girl in 1920s Vermont explores a dark episode in New England history.

Just as the waters of a river roar through her town, Molly Ballou's life is riding on a swift current, where change comes faster than a spring flood. As a half - Abenaki Indian, half - French Canadian girl in Vermont, Molly is slowly realizing that her family and others like them are being targeted by a governmental effort to rid the state of so-called "poor citizens." Not only is Molly facing discrimination, but she is also haunted by the ghostly presence of her drowned older sister and her grieving mother's evasive love. Curious about her family's traditions, Molly finds herself drawn to Henry, an Abenaki boy whose connection to the natural world provides solace when Molly's mother tragically loses a baby and grows increasingly ill. With Henry's support, sorrow gradually gives way to the joy of self-discovery — and allows Molly to look beyond hardship to a future of promise.


I learned a lot from this book though I didn't even pay much attention to when I borrowed it. After reading this, I've realized that the Roaring Twenties weren't so prosperous for everyone in America. I thought The Darkness Under Water would only be interesting whenever Molly's older sister's ghost. Molly's time at school and by the river were some of my favorite scenes. With nothing forgotten, the ending was just right.

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