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Kit's Law (2003)

Kit's Law (2003)
3.95 of 5 Votes: 4
0143014315 (ISBN13: 9780143014317)
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Kit's Law (2003)
Kit's Law (2003)

About book: "I didn't do it because it was smart. I did it because it made things look pretty." To the residents of Haire's Hollow, 12-year-old Kit is poor, sad, strange, and in need of salvation. But in Kit's mind and heart, she is exactly where she belongs: living in the gully with her Nan, warmed by the wood stove, overlooking the constant restless shifting of the sea. This first novel by Donna Morrissey is an engaging immersion in outport Newfoundland, where amid the tough work and harsh climate one's greater purpose was polished and clear: love your kin, help your neighbors, waste nothing, and want for less. Chores, chills, and isolation do not trap young Kit; on the contrary she is firmly rooted in her way of life, able to weather any doubt and confusion by helping Nan pick berries or viewing the world through shards of glass washed up on shore. Kit's agony is borne upon the winds which both created her and threaten to erode her spirit: the ever-changing moods and behavior of her mentally-challenged mother - a child herself trapped in a woman's body inviting judgment and abuse from those in town claiming to be and know better, the secret of her father, and the evil of humanity that is drawn to her family in a series of gruesome events that both horrify and cleanse in setting the truth free.Kit is a survivor, and she is proud. We cannot help but be proud of her in her convictions and her decisions in making a life that she both chooses and accepts. The best part of the book is the beginning, with characters that are loving yet flawed, or despicable yet understandable. In the latter part of the story, characters become less-developed as the story's pace gains speed and urgency to a desired resolution, but Kit's strength and depth continues to grow. The book engages the reader in a unique way and place of life, while showing how as humans our essential searches and pitfalls are the same: those who profess to know best quite often do the most harm, while knowledge in youth is readily dismissed. Sometimes, a solution lies in a different view, such as through a piece of well-worn beach glass.

This book wasn't quite as good as I was hoping. It's set in the fifties in a Newfoundland outport and tells the first person story of Kit. Kit lives with her Nan, Lizzy and her mentally challenged mother, Josie. There's the supportive town doctor who regularly squares off against the hell-fire and brimstone preacher who wants Josie and Kit sent away from the town, to be raised by nuns, or some such. There's the preacher's son, Sid, who in defiance of his parents, befriends Kit and Josie. There's a twist though, there's always a twist!I must say, I got an inkling early on as to what the twist was going to be, but like another reviewer said, the book kind of lost traction after the big reveal. Kit's story was interesting, I suppose; her life in the gully, being part of a very unconventional family, and I liked the cast of characters we met throughout. I also loved the Newfie accent written in (I's could just hears it, me son!), but what happens in the latter part of the book left me a wee bit flat.Not much more can be said without spoilers. I got through the book just fine, it wasn't a chore to read, at all. However, I was wishing that I knew more of the back story on Josie and how she came to be pregnant in the first place. I guess that's another story.
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Kit's Law is a story of growing up poor and stigmatized in a 1950s outport in Newfoundland. When we first meet young teen-aged Kit she is living in dignified poverty with her grandmother who is raising her and her mentally handicapped single mother who lives the life of a barely manageable child. Her grandmother dies early in the story leaving Kit to fight for her right to live independently and protect her mother. The townspeople are rather stereotypically drawn - the sympathetic doctor, the evil minister, the spoiled rich kids who torment her, the minister's son who defies his dad by helping her etc. The story-line is an interesting one but the novel itself is just too long. By the end I had some investment in the characters and I did want to know how it would end. I was intrigued enough by the author and times that I got on her web-site to discover very interesting photos of her early life in the an outport.
Carolyn Gerk
I started off enjoying this book a lot. It was a breeze to get through, though I felt like 1950's Newfoundland sounded a little bit like Little House on the Prairie, so maybe the newfies are a bit behind on the times. I would like to have heard more about Josie's story, as it was her struggle that interested me more than Kit's did. The characters are simple and a little bit cliche, but it felt like a getaway story depsite the bleak outcomes of mcuh of it. This was the first two thirds of the book. Then came the twist. It all fel apart after that. I burned through the rest as quickly as I could as it left a bad taste in my mouth. I wanted to move on to a new book and forget about this one. Kit felt like a wholly different character in this section, and Josie was more or less forgotten. I wanted to give it three stars becasue the coming of age adolescent struggle that made up the bulk of the novel was graet, but I just couldnt overlook how much I wanted to be done with the book in the end. And how much Kit had changed into a character I didnt like anymore.
Nathan Burgoine
One of the best books I've read by a contemporary Canadian Author, I put up a review of this book on, and got an e-mail from her!When she visited Ottawa to do a book reading, she stopped by the store I worked for at the time and signed my copy and personalized it, so this one is only available for loaning to locals who will send it back thereafter.This is a great story set in East-Coast Canada, and has one young girl struggling to survive against some nasty family secrets, taking care of a developmentally delayed mother, and surviving on her own.
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