Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Wolf by the Ears - Ann Rinaldi

Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on January 1, 1993
Published by Scholastic
Pages: 272
Read From: 7.6.12 - 7.7.12

Cover Blurb: It looks dated, the girl in the front does not at all look how I imagine Harriet. She looks more Hispanic or Latino descent than African; her features aren’t right.

What I Liked: Like all of Rinaldi’s female characters, Harriet is a strong protagonist, doesn’t have an attitude, is intelligent, and feminine without being weak. I was able to appreciate her struggle, thus her indecision didn’t get as annoying as it could have.

What I Disliked: While I liked Harriet well enough, she was perhaps the least “connectable” out of all the protagonists in Rinaldi’s books that I have read. It wasn’t because of her situation or anything like that; there was just a slight something lacking in her personality. A slight something that I aggravatingly cannot entirely pinpoint, but it was there, making Harriet just slightly less than she could have been.

Believability: Rinaldi does her research, of course; it’s part of why I love her books so much. And Rinaldi presents very believable reasons for, if Thomas Jefferson had children by one of his slaves, why he couldn’t claim them.

Writing Style: Good, as always. I liked how it was told in a loose-journal style. There weren’t daily entries, but monthly ones, with just the month and the year. And never once did the story feel like it was slandering Thomas Jefferson - Rinaldi says in her Author’s Note that that is not the intention of the story, and I believe her. It felt like a work of fiction; an interesting “what if” that is possible, but there is not 100% historical backing for it, and the Author acknowledges this. The views and opinions expressed in the story also felt like the characters’ opinion, and not something the Author was forcing her characters to voice for her. The only negative thing I have to say about writing choice is the pace of the story. It was kind of slow, there was no real climax. Taking Liberty is somewhat similar, and I wish the pacing of Wolf by the Ears had been more like that; then it would have been better.

Content: Blunthead tries to rape Harriet, but he doesn't get very far at all before it is interrupted.

Conclusion: As said earlier, there is nothing terribly climatic about it. But it’s realistic. I do, however, wish the story was longer, and had more build-up.

Recommended Audience: Fans of Ann Rinaldi, naturally, and consequently historical fiction fans. This is a girl read, though guys who don’t mind dress descriptions and the like might like it as well.

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