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Friends, including Stephen Fry, Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie, will gather on Friday to pay tribute to Christopher Hitchens, the author and columnist who died in December.
The Green Door is short and admonitory and — before I forget — by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman. It’s also a timeslip book, which is the reason you’re hearing about it; books in which exciting adventures make young girls decide to be more boring in the future have very little appeal for me.
Letitia Hopkins is, from the start, a bit of a drip. Her Aunt Peggy seems like a pretty nice adoptive parent, and she provides Letitia with a nice home, but, as Letitia doesn’t actually like to do anything but sit still and daydream, she’s dissatisfied. She’s also really curious about the green door in the cheese-room, which doesn’t seem to exist on the other side of the wall — curious enough that one day while Aunt Peggy is out, she steals the key and opens it.
She finds herself in the time of her great-great-great grandparents, and her great-great-great grandparents are the first people she meets when she gets there — them and their three daughters, Letitia’s great-great grandmother and great-great-great aunts. They are confused by the fact that her name — Letitia Hopkins — is the same as the name of the great-great-great grandmother and also the great great grandmother (and to be honest, so am I, because surnames are generally patrilineal) but they take her in and teach her how to cook and clean and sew and things.
In another book, this would be the making of Letitia. But no, she continues to be a drip. Then she meets a young boy she went sledding with once in her own time. He too has travelled into his family’s past, although he used a book rather than a door. He finds a corresponding book in his ancestors’ house, and Letitia finds a corresponding door in hers, and then they go home and eat cake and Letitia apologizes to her aunt Peggy, who says, “Well, it was a hard lesson to learn, and I hoped to spare you from it, but perhaps it was for the best.” Implying, I guess, that the Hopkins family uses their weird time traveling door for the purpose of keeping discontented children in line. Which seems like kind of a waste.
I guess I just don’t understand why anyone would want to write a children’s book about how miserable time travel is.
, time travel
6 Comments on The Green Door, last added: 4/19/2012