I’m smitten. Brianna finished Maryellen’s first book “The One and Only” the first day it was released. It took me two days to finish it because I had to savor it just a little… and make dinner now and again.
I will not spoil the book for you because you simply must read it! My first reading of the samples that Amazon posted in their “Look Inside” feature gave me the impression that this might be a “lite” book for kids. I was very wrong.
Maryellen is a 1950s girl struggling to find her identity in a family of 6 kids. In her efforts to be “the one and only Maryellen” she makes some poorly thought out choices. Think Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy. I truly did “LOL” during the book! The comedic moments are accompanied by themes of being unique vs being part of a family, making our individual dreams come true vs sharing our joy with others, and seeing people as individuals vs excluding them based on groups they belong to. This book is more Molly than Addy or Caroline. So far Maryellen is not risking her life to intervene in the history of the day. Her journey in the first book is inward.
Brianna thinks I can be too critical, but my complaints are that Dad isn’t a very developed character — at least so far. I’m not even sure what his occupation is. We don’t get to know him in the same was we get to know Caroline’s father in her books. My other complaint is that the loss of small drawings in the historical books is very sad. I made myself a Pinterest board as I read, looking up details like “Rosemary Clooney’s gown in White Christmas.” The story is so much richer when these details have an accompanying image. A lot of kids may not even have a reference for “coffee-cake” or “round suitcase”…. not to mention “cold cream.” I hope that the historical dolls won’t lose their appeal as new readers discover their stories without the artwork we all associate with the original books.
Surprisingly, this is a Christmas story in Daytona! It would make a wonderful gift during the holiday season, or could be read with a loved one who grew up in Maryellen’s time period. Multi-generation book club? Absolutely!
I found my heart warmed as I uncovered the deeper significance behind the clothing that is available for the doll.
The Maryellen doll may or may not be on your “wishlist” but don’t miss an opportunity to get to know her as a character. I hope to hear your thoughts after you’ve read the book too! No spoilers please.