Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Apples of Gold & Triangle

Today is my dad's 54th birthday. I realized recently that when I was a kid, I associated many of the primary people in my life with characters on TV. My Grandma Valley was like Lucille Ball, my Grandpa Trever, Ward Cleaver. My dad was a combination of Charles Ingalls and The Fonz. This may sound like an odd combo, and I'll admit it is, but it does, in a way, describe my dad. I think I most strongly associated myself with Laura Ingalls. She was mouthy, a tomgirl, but most of all she was a Daddy's girl, and that's a label I've always thought of as me. Charles Ingalls wasn't afraid of hard work, but he also knew how to laugh and enjoy life. His rules for life were: Your word is your bond; family comes first; and your name means everything. Those are the same rules that Dad really tried to instill in me. On the other hand, I thought my dad was the coolest guy in the world, hence The Fonz. The Fonz could fix anything, sometimes just by snapping his fingers. My dad is still the one I turn to fix things. When The Fonz walked in the room, everyone's attention came to him, and if there was a problem, you knew that he was the calm in the middle of the storm who would make sense of things. That's my dad to a tee. Dad is a regular reader of my blog, and I know at this point he's rolling his eyes at my comparisons. Oh well, happy birthday anyway Dad!

Apples of Gold: A Parable of Purity by Lisa Samson is a beautiful book about the importance of young women holding on to their virginity. It’s a tough topic to handle, and Samson does a terrific job of writing a fairy tale that shows that lesson well without talking down to her audience. Two sisters, Liza and Kate, are given the responsibility of taking care of some apples for the Governor of their small island. They are to care for the apples for one week and then give them to the Governor’s son when he returns to the island. The ending of the book is never really in doubt, but even in this straightforward tale, Samson does a great job of getting inside of the characters’ heads. The illustrations are simple, yet lovely black and white drawings. The best part about the book is that after my daughter and I read it, we started talking about the issue of purity and what the Lord expects from us. The conversation didn’t last long, but now that we’ve had the first one, the second and third will be much easier.

Triangle by Katharine Weber has to be one of the best books of the year. As the last survivor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Esther Gottesfeld has told her story so many times, and yet there’s always someone new to ask her to tell it again. Rebecca, her granddaughter, and Rebecca’s lover George, a composer, are forced to face the truth of Esther’s past after she passes away at the age of 106. The interior flap of the book makes it sound as though the two go on some kind of quest and are vexed by Ruth Zion as they search for truth. The book is much more complex than that. Rebecca and George are amazing, strongly written characters settled in their lives. Ruth Zion, while a bit of a stereotype (and a hilarious one at that), is less a character than the catalyst who sparks change within Rebecca and George. This slim book is difficult to explain without giving away plot points, but it is definitely worth the read. Weber’s writing is superb, perfection. I want to immerse myself in her world and listen to George’s music and search for triangles. Don’t miss this book!

More tomorrow!


lisa said...

Thanks for reviewing Apples Christy!!