Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ursula, Under

I don't usually get the opportunity to blog on the weekend, but we're home and resting after supper at my dad & stepmom's. I decided to do something a little different with my weekend posts, so here goes.

I read hundreds of books a year. Ten in the last week. Sometimes I can't remember much if anything about a plot a few months after reading it, because I've read so many new ones, and often one story bleeds into another. Occasionally I encounter a book that is so powerful that I still remember it well years after reading it. These are the books that when asked I list as my favorites. Usually there was a central idea that made me think in a new way. Whenever anyone asks me to recommend a book, it's this kind that I give them. I am fascinated by books, and stories like these are the reason why. First on the list, but not necessarily my favorite book is:

Ursula, Under by Ingrid Hill is the story of 2-1/2 year old Ursula Wong who while visiting the Upper Peninsula with her parents falls down an abandoned mineshaft. While her parents and rescue workers scramble to find her, the story jumps back into time to tell the story of her ancestors. We discover they came from China, Sweden, and Finland. All of these people lived with secrets and heartache, and the culmination of their lives is this little girl, and no one knows if she's survived the fall. Interspersed with the ancestor stories and current events are also the tales of Ursula's parents. While at times, the suspense of Ursula's fate made me want to tear my hair out, the stories of how she came to be are powerful and moving. The theme underlying the book is that we are all connected, and the actions we take resonate through the world and time. The characterzations are hauntingly real, and the story of this little girl has never left me, even two years after reading it. This book comes with my highest recommendation. It's impossible not to be moved by the parents' fear and guilt, nor to be touched by the idea that we are all tied together.

So, read the book, and tell me what you think. Did it move you like it does me?
Today's picture is from Molly's play a couple of weeks ago. This is her curtain call with her co-star Ben. When the applause started, she literally glowed. It was as if an internal switch had been flipped and she just shined.