Wednesday, July 7, 2010

House of Dolls

Block, Francesca Lia. 2010. House of Dolls. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. New York: Harper Collins.

Again, a small and beautifully illustrated cover attracted my attention.  This time, however, seeing that the author is Francesca Lia Block, whom I remember for Weetzie Bat, I was expecting something out of the ordinary.

Unlike The Very Little Princess, this time I got what I expected.  In The Very Little Princess, it is the beautiful doll who is behaving badly.

In the House of Dolls, it is the young girl, Madison, who vents her loneliness, resentment and frustration on the stoic inhabitants of the dollhouse - the beautiful Wildflower, Rock Star and Miss Selene, and their unlikely companions, the camouflaged Guy, and B. Friend, "a devastatingly handsome stuffed bear," with a red crochet beret and flannel vest.

Disturbed by the news and her unfulfilling family life, Madison Blackberry sends Guy and B. Friend "to war." Then B. Friend is pronounced MIA. The usually serene dolls are devastated.
The dolls did not know that "war" was really a dusty box in a closet of the apartment where the dollhouse lived.  It didn't matter. As far as Guy and Wildflower were concerned, that was war. War was life without each other.
Eventually, the real war is over, and with the love of a caring grandmother and a tiny doll determined to make a difference, so too is the war in Madison's heart.
And Guy whispered, "War is being blinded and locked in a box, unable to see, hear, or touch you, my wildflower.  War is being reminded that you are completely at the mercy of death at every moment, without the illusion that you are not.  Without the distractions that make life worth living."
 A serious book that parallels much from the famous prayer, teaching the serenity to accept the things one cannot change; courage to change the things one can; and wisdom to know the difference.


Only 61 pages, beautifully and abundantly illustrated in black and white sketches, however, again, a book about dolls that is best suited for a more mature reader.

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1 comment:

  1. I've wondered about this new book by Francesca-glad to hear it is worth it.

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