HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

When Marnie Was There (1967)

by Joan G. Robinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2355116,004 (4.23)4
Anna hasn't a friend in the world - until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn't all she seems...An atmospheric ghost story about friendship, families and loneliness.Sent away from her foster home one long, hot summer to a sleepy Norfolk village by the sea, Anna dreams her days away among the sandhills and marshes.She never expected to meet a friend like Marnie, someone who doesn't judge Anna for being ordinary and not-even-trying. But no sooner has Anna learned the loveliness of friendship than Marnie vanishes...… (more)
  1. 10
    Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Both books entwine dreams/ghosts with reality and haunt the reader long after the end is reached.
  2. 10
    Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Both books tell of girls who, initially outsiders, find a place for themselves through subtly ghostly experiences.
  3. 10
    Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (KayCliff)
  4. 00
    The House in the Square by Joan G. Robinson (HollyMS)
  5. 00
    Starry Nights by Judith Clarke (fountainoverflows)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 4 mentions

Showing 5 of 5
This book completely captured my heart. One of my favourites for a long, long time. ( )
  emmy_of_spines | Sep 8, 2022 |
A gentle and charming ghost story set on the North Norfolk coast.

Anna is a lonely foster child, who feels very 'outside' the warm relationships of others. While convalescing on the Norfolk coast, she meets Marnie, also lonely and excluded, and the two become firm friends. There is a lovely sense of place with the marshes and the dunes. The explanations at the end come very thick and fast compared to the gentle pace of the rest of the book, and while they are a bit coincidental, they are satisfying. I think I will not walk down the staithe again without imagining Marnie, pale at the window! ( )
  atreic | Aug 19, 2020 |
”It was raining harder now and she was beginning to get wet, but it did not matter. She was warm inside. She turned and began running back along the dyke, thinking how strange it was—about being ‘inside’ or ‘outside’. It was nothing to do with there being other people, or whether you were ‘an only’, or one of a large family . . . she knew that now—it was something to do with how you were feeling inside yourself.”

Anna is around ten and absolutely friendless. Unable to connect with the other children at school or bond with the older foster parents she’s lived with for some years, she is profoundly unhappy. Her characteristic expression is the “ordinary” face: an appearance of indifference and haughty detachment. She hates the mother who left her to go off on a holiday with a second husband, only to die along with this man in a car crash, and she also hates the grandmother she was left with for dying soon after. After being away from school for two weeks, suffering from asthma that is likely psychosomatic in nature, Anna is sent by her foster parents, the Prestons, to stay with the Peggs, an endearing, warm couple who live in Little Overton in the fen country. The family doctor has stated that the air there may well do her good. It certainly makes more sense for her to be there than spend the last six weeks of term in the prison that is school.

Once in the marshy country, Anna is given an enviable degree of freedom. She explores the marshlands and is particularly compelled by a lovely old house that looks out onto the creek and the straithe. There is a strange, deep familiarity about this place, whose windows Anna sometimes believes to be watching her. Soon she will make the acquaintance of an unusual—magical or ghostly—girl. “Marnie”, who is just as lonely as Anna herself, lives in the mysterious house. The two will become each other’s best friend and will have several small adventures together, but then Marnie will quite suddenly depart, leaving Anna to question if the other girl is a figment of the imagination or a character from some strange dream.

When summer finally (officially) arrives, a lovely, friendly family with five children moves into the mysterious Marsh House. Their renovations of the old place bring to light a diary from long ago that will explain much about Marnie. The Lindsay family will also invite an elderly friend to stay. This woman, “Gillie”, lived in Little Overton as a child, and has fascinating stories to tell about the Marsh House and the lonely girl who lived there over fifty years before, during the time of the Great War. Anna will find her intuited connection to the house is based in her own family’s history.

When Marnie Was There is a lovely, atmospheric piece of children’s literature into which adults, too, can escape to rediscover some of the pain and pleasure of childhood. It is a story of feeling lonely and apart and of finally coming home. ( )
1 vote fountainoverflows | Apr 20, 2018 |
I didn't grow up with a great love of reading like many of my contemporary readers and writers. I read for fun as a child, but not voraciously. The books I read were not the classic adventures you may have read. Mostly, I read Garfield and Choose Your Own Adventure. I did read one or two Judy Blumes, but that was as close as I got to “good literature” until I was much older.

Once I had children, my curiosity about children's literature grew. Had I missed much? I began to explore some of the titles I'd heard others rave about, some old and some new. Frankly, I wasn't impressed. Though the stories were good, every one was guilty of being a story and little more. The authors of children's tales clearly knew nothing about creating round characters who develop or using language to further the plot; perhaps they knew and just refused to utilize them. Perhaps they were out there and I just couldn't find them. Either way, book after book, I was disappointed with the action-begets-conflict-leading-to-more-action plot. Was I missing something, some basic trait in myself that made deficient my understanding of a good story?

When I first saw the trailer for Studio Ghibli's newest film, When Marnie Was There, I knew I'd found our newest family read. Prior to this, I'd never heard of the title or its author, Joan G. Robinson. The trailer looked fantastic, however, and I thought it would be fun to read the book to the kiddos before we watched the movie. Yet I worried this children's story would be just like the rest.

When Marnie Was There is such a fantastic read. For some children, it may be much too slow. It's true, not much happens, but it is an enchanting tale. This is the story of a girl, Anna, who is a bit of an outcast and who finds a friend in an unexpected place. There are some strange happenings and some drama, but largely, it's about Anna and her struggles. But man, oh man, is this novel wonderfully paced and charactered. Robinson fantastically doled out the mystery surrounding Anna's friend, Marnie, at just the right speed to keep things interesting without giving much away. At the end of every chapter or two, we as a family would theorize what was going on. No other book we'd read together had prompted so many questions.

Once the truth of the story draws near, it hits hard. I was quite choked up. I had to step away from my reading of the text for a few minutes to compose myself. That is a power I never would've expected from a children's novel.

I don't know how I would've felt about this novel as a child. Maybe it would've bored me. Maybe it would've resonated with me then as it does now. My own children seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. What I do know, or am beginning to realize, is that it is all so incredibly subjective: tastes, feelings, responses. In When Marnie Was There, Anna is on the outside, looking in, wondering how to fit in, all the while oblivious to the connections that surround her. Likewise, it may be that I was looking for identity in the wrong place. It's okay that others love the books they love—perhaps what others need is a story, a purpose, a sense of action—while what I need is a sense of identity and connection. Stories resonate with each of us differently. That said, I personally loved When Marnie Was There. I love it so much that someday, I may read it again... perhaps to my grandchildren. ( )
1 vote chrisblocker | Jan 6, 2017 |
I can't remember why I decided to re-read this. Someone must have mentioned it, and brought it to my mind. It's a book of two halves: the Marnie bits are haunting and memorable, but when Anna gets more-or-less adopted by a family of wannabe Swallows and Amazons I rather lost interest. Those people were just too hearty for me. ( )
  phoebesmum | Aug 31, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joan G. Robinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fortnum, PeggyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Distinctions

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Anna hasn't a friend in the world - until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn't all she seems...An atmospheric ghost story about friendship, families and loneliness.Sent away from her foster home one long, hot summer to a sleepy Norfolk village by the sea, Anna dreams her days away among the sandhills and marshes.She never expected to meet a friend like Marnie, someone who doesn't judge Anna for being ordinary and not-even-trying. But no sooner has Anna learned the loveliness of friendship than Marnie vanishes...

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Anna hasn't a friend in the world -- until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn't all she seems! An atmospheric ghost story with truths to tell about friendship, families and loneliness. Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognises -- and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna's first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes. A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learnt so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays -- and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed!
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.23)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 5
3.5 3
4 14
4.5 1
5 22

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 207,184,411 books! | Top bar: Always visible