Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Giveaway #2: Hattie Big Sky

It is a rare book that engages middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. Hattie Big Sky, a 2007 Newbery Honor winner by Kirby Larson, is such a book. 

While I listened to it on CD, my 88-year-old mother enjoyed reading it. This blog will include both our reactions to this hard-to-put-down book.

Set in early-20th century Montana, the story focuses on 16-year-old Hattie who just inherited her uncle's 320-acre claim.  Since I listened with my writer's hat on, this is what I appreciated:
  • I loved how the book opened just as Hattie's life changes. The reader sees how Hattie has been orphaned and shifted from one relative to another. The inciting event happens quickly: the fateful letter declaring her inheritance arrives. 
  • Larson uses beautiful language to describe the Montana landscape as well as Hattie's tumultuous feelings. 
  • Hattie's external and internal goals are clearly portrayed. She has to clear 40 acres and set 480 posts in 10 months or lose the claim. Internally, she longs for a home-- for a place where she will no longer be "Hattie Here and There."
  • Each obstacle to Hattie's success produces tension in the story. A shifty single man who desires her and her land, hail, her own exhaustion, her uncle's unpaid bills--all of these work to have the reader rooting for Hattie.
  • Larson weaves in several interesting sub-plots: World War I, Hattie's growing affection for her hometown friend serving in the war, her love for reading and writing, and the anti-German sentiment in America.
While I admired Larson's wordsmith abilities, my mother was very happy "just" to love the story. She loved Hattie's courage and gutsiness and Mr. Whiskers (Hattie's cat.) "When I was reading it I could imagine I was in Montana. I could picture everything," she said. 

My mother immigrated to the United States in 1936 from Germany and never reads anything about WWII. I was wondering if the references to the Huns or the anti-German hatred which impacted Hattie would bother her. When I asked her she replied simply, "That was before my time."

Kirby is donating an autographed copy to one fortunate winner. Mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers...leave me a comment and you might win! Just make sure you read the book before you give it away (or give it with a promise that you'll get to read it too!)

Here are the giveaway rules: 

  • If you already follow this blog, please share this contest via social media then post a comment telling me what you did.
  • If you aren’t a follower, sign up, and then leave a comment.
  • If you have never entered one of my contests, PLEASE include your email address so I can contact you if you win. No contact information--you can't win!

CONTEST ENDS THE EVENING OF WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12TH!

Next blog up: Kirby shares the personal back story that led her to  writing this book. And you'll have the chance to win Hattie Big Sky on CD!

8 comments:

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

I've read this already but I just might read it again. And if I win, I might give it away. Or not. That's a tough call.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

I've already read it, but just wanted to say I loved this book.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Joyce and Lynn for stopping by. I can see we have a few Hattie lovers among us!

Rosi said...

This is a book I've never read. I have heard about it for years, but it never made it into my TBR stack. I would love to win. You now have a new follower. My email address is rosihollinbeck (at) yahoo (dot) com. Thanks for running this giveaway.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Rosi. You followed ALL of my rules and I appreciate that!! YOur name is in the proverbial hat!!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol, Thanks for writing such a great review of this book. It sound absolutely great! Neat that your Mother likes it, too.

I tweeted about your giveaway and I also posted about it on Facebook.

Celebrate you and your Mother.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, JOan. You're in!

Linda Vigen Phillips said...

I take it on good faith, yours and your mother's recommendations. Not only that, I love to read a good story about how someone handles an inheritance! That's not always an easy task.