This is the first Saturday of the month which means that it is time for Six Degrees of Separation, the book challenge, hosted by Kate at Kate from Books are My Favourite and Best.
The starting point for us this round is to begin with Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.
Here is my chain of books (book info highlighted is from Goodreads)
- Judy Blume also writes adult novels and In the Unlikely Event is an imagined story based on real events.
“Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, Judy Blume imagines and weaves together a haunting story of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by these disasters. She paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place.”
2. Into the Abyss by Carl Shaban, a non-fiction book, explores how a tragic event can alter lives in an instant, much like the events altered Blume’s characters.
“On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. Four survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. … As they fought through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth and status were erased and each man was forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence. The survivors forged unlikely friendships and through them found strength and courage to rebuild their lives.”
3. Brian, the main character in Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, is the sole survivor of a plane crash and just as the men in Shaban’s book, he must struggle to survive. And in their survival, they all face transformation.
“Brian is on his way to Canada to visit his estranged father when the pilot of his small prop plane suffers a heart attack. Brian is forced to crash-land the plane in a lake–and finds himself stranded in the remote Canadian wilderness with only his clothing and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present before his departure. Exhausted, terrified, and hungry, Brian struggles to find food and make a shelter for himself. He has no special knowledge of the woods, and he must find a new kind of awareness and patience as he meets each day’s challenges…. Slowly, Brian learns to turn adversity to his advantage… Most of all, Brian leaves behind the self-pity he has felt about his predicament as he summons the courage to stay alive.”
4. I am Still Alive by Kate Allen Marshall also highlights survival in the Canadian wilderness of a teenager, this time of a girl, after her father is killed.
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.
Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.”
5. This book led me to Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, which tells the story of a young girl who loses her father in a plane crash and then learns there is a second family, with a half-sister she had never met.
“Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.”
6. Acevedo’s novel led me to Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez, a book that takes place as well in the Dominican Republic and focuses on a young girl.
“Anita de la Torre is a twelve-year-old girl living in the Dominican Republic in 1960. Most of her relatives have emigrated to the United States, her Tío Toni has disappeared, Papi has been getting mysterious phone calls about butterflies and someone named Mr. Smith, and the secret police have started terrorizing her family for their suspected opposition to the country’s dictator. While Anita deals with a frightening series of events, she also struggles with her adolescence and her own personal fight to be free.”
And so, from Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, I have wound my way through 6 books to end with Before We Were Free, about a young girl who struggles with finding her place and how to get through adolescence.
Next month (January 2, 2021 ), we’ll begin with the winner of the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.