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The Girl with the Silver Eyes (original 1980; edition 2011)
by Willo Davis Roberts (Author)
The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts (1980)
Favorite Childhood Books (272)
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This book will always have a special place in my heart because it is one of the first chapter books I remember reading. It is a simple story about a girl with telekinetic powers who is trying to find her place in the world. Not overly complex, but relatable enough for those who feel like an outsider. ( )
Yes, I know, I'm 51 reading a kid's book. Thing is, a good book is a good book regardless of the age it's aimed at and this is a good book, hands down. For years, I kind of hoped Ms. Roberts would revisit Katie and her friends to see how things had turned out for them, but I guess she'd said what she wanted to say and there was no more to say.
Katie is an odd kid, it's true. She has unusual colored eyes and has the gift? curse? of telekinesis or the ability to move objects with only her mind. She's also a fairly serious person and prefers to read to being rowdy, for all that she really wants friends. As a kid myself, I didn't see some of her behavior in the book as problematical, but as an adult, she does come across as a bit of a brat, but given that some of the adults around her are less than friendly, and see her as a troublemaker even when she's not, I cannot say that I blame her either.
As an adult, listening to the audio version of this book, I found I could analyze what about this book drew me in as a kid and there was a lot. A sense of not belonging, being different, and an outsider are the main topics of this story, but also finding people who look beyond the surface and see someone they like and can get along with and are accepting. Katie found those things in the end, though I wish the book were a bit longer so we could spend time with the other kids and get to know them too. The ending, I have to say, is just a little too pat.
As a so called adult, I can put the ideas and thoughts of this book into a context that make sense to me now: I too was different; being asexual and aromantic does put one outside of the so called "normal" teenage experience of finding a boy/girlfriend, etc. I was and still am socially awkward, shy, and a big time introvert too. Sadly, I never did develop into a Tomorrow Person. I found my people after I got out of high school and joined a couple of SF clubs - most of them are still friends.
[ETA] This is a very Gen-X book complete with divorced or working parents, latchkey kids, and a lot of alone time.
Thanks for letting me wander down memory lane Ms. Roberts. I hope you have found your peace too.
Absolutely loved this book. Wonderful elements of paranormal and simply being a preteen who doesn't quite fit in. One of my favorites from childhood.
I had fond memories of this book from my middle school days, and recently managed to find a copy. I have to say, the intervening 30 years has not been kind to it.
The shape of the story is a familiar one. A young person has powers that make them special, but also mark them as different. They come of age and discover others like themselves, and are finally free to be who they are.
That's great, so far as it goes. The problem is that it's not a particularly good example of this story shape. The bulk of the story is composed of the protagonist's abysmal family situation. We are treated to dozens of examples of poor treatment bordering on abuse. And yet in the climax, most of that is ignored with a sudden change of heart on the part of Katie's mother. Even the mom's deadbeat boyfriend comes around, somehow. The ending feels rushed and unearned.
And what's worse, the book ends just as it's getting to an interesting part. Katie has found others like her and is about to embark on a new stage in her life. But we see none of it. The book simply ends, meaning that all we get is a hundred pages of child neglect followed by an empty conclusion.
I can see why I liked this book as a kid. The premise activated my imagination, and I was content to put myself in Katie's shoes and continue the story on my own. As an adult, and having read much better examples of this type of fiction, that's no longer enough.
I read this book sometime in grade school. It was probably the first time I read a story about someone just like me.
A 10-year-old girl, who has always looked different from other children, discovers that she not only has unusual powers but that there are others like her.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.5Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century
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