Friday, March 28, 2008

The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt

Frankly, I set myself up for disappointment with this book. Natalie Babbitt’s other book, Tuck Everlasting, was one of the most powerful and beautifully-written books that I’ve ever read. Therefore my expectations were pretty high for The Search for Delicious and it couldn’t quite live up to them. It seemed a little too contrived and silly (a whole kingdom going to war over favorite foods? A mermaid saves the day?) And don’t think that I found it hard to swallow because I disdain fairy tales. I was raised on them and have read them to my kids with zeal. But my tastes run more to Edith Nesbit (The Book of Dragons) and George MacDonald (The Light Princess and the The Princess and Curdie stories) because of the British wit, good writing and layers of meaning.

By the way, if you’ve only seen the movie version of Tuck, you have no idea of the richness of Babbitt’s story. I was furious with Disney for turning such a profound book into a teen romance. While I’m on the subject of insightful books, here are some other fiction books that have knocked the wind out of me with their depth of perception:

1) Fahrenheit 451 (You’ve got to read this if you love words/books/ideas.)
2) Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge (Goudge is an extraordinary writer who deals with moral themes yet never preaches at you. The main love story in this book didn’t interest me much, but one of the lesser characters was a man who loved nothing more than to sit in his cozy library of books. He gave it up to reach out to needy people and I’ve been challenged to follow his example ever since. And he wasn’t even a “real” person!)
3) A Higher Call by Harold Bell Wright (The heroine of this book would not marry her pastor boyfriend because she wanted to actively serve God and not just “play church”). Very significant for me since I have been a part of the church all my life.
4) The Giver by Lowry is another one that I’ve mentioned before about the importance of pain. Who would have thought you could write a book like that in our comfort-obsessed culture and get away with it?!

Happy reading!


valentina said...

I've read this when I was 10 and I absolutely loved it!!!can't imagine how it would be like to read it now. I'm sorry you were disappointed with it

Sherry said...

I haven' heard of Harold Bell Wright in a long, long time. I had a dear college professor who liked Wright's books.

And I must, must read The Giver.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sometimes it's better not to have any expectations at all, isn't it?

Thanks for the other recommendations, too. I have 'Fahrenheit 451' on my list to read at some point.

Carol in Oregon said...

I never thought I would see Harold Bell Wright in a blog! I went through a stage where I read just about everything he wrote. I particularly liked That Printer of Udells. Wow, that takes me back.

Elizabeth Goudge is another favorite. Oh my, there are some wonderful quotes from her books.

I haven't read Tuck Everlasting or Fahrenheit 451 yet. I just ordered both on Paperbackswap. I know I could listen to them or get them from my library; based on your recommendation, though, I am sure I will want them in my permanent library.

Thanks Hope!