Thursday, October 4, 2007

Keturah and Lord Death

Can someone love death? This is one of my questions as I listened to this skillfully-written medieval fantasy.

Within a picture frame of the quintessential struggle of a young woman searching for her "true love" and the universal conflict of good vs. evil (or in this case, love vs. death), author Martine Leavitt has created a story that is worthy of Scheherezade. Like Crispin: At the Edge of the World, this book also demonstrates how superstitions governed life in the Middle Ages. But Leavitt has successfully woven humor into this book so the reader laughs when Keturah realizes that after all, she really doesn't need a charmed eye rolling around in her apron pocket to show who she truly loves.

Leavitt's use of personification in the person of Lord Death is outstanding, and I loved her use of the "story within a story" theme. Language arts students can learn a lot by looking at these literary elements as well as characterization, setting, and plot. Although the book starts out with Keturah promising her male listeners a story that is full of death and adventure, I think that adolescent girls will gravitate to this book more than boys.

Can someone love death? Leavitt makes an interesting argument for it. Keturah and Lord Death could lead to some interesting theological debates as well as discussions about love and self-sacrifice. (Front Street Books, 2006)

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