Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Green Witch by Alice Hoffman

Green is a girl who lives in loss. Her parents were farmers and would travel to the city with their produce, selling it at the market. She had wanted to go to the city to help them, but on that particular day, they decided to take her sister instead, and Green had a temper tantrum because of it and stayed home to sulk. But on that day, the city was attacked and destroyed by the Horde, people who believed that the technology and wonders of the city was wrong and evil.

Grieving, Green survived the aftermath of the attack, growing roses around her cottage, red roses to remind her of the love of her family and their loss. They grow so splendidly and quickly that every day, she has to cut back the roses or her cottage will disappear beneath them. Then, she met a young man named Diamond, and grew to love him, and he, her. But he left to look for his family, and never returned.

Having experienced so much loss in her life, Green became a chronicler. All of the books from before were destroyed in the attack, their pages burned, or the ink sliding off them to deny the learning they had once held to the survivors of the city's destruction.. Green first tattooed stories onto her own skin, and when that space ran out, she made her own paper and her own books. People seemed drawn to her to tell her their stories and of the things they had lost, and she wrote them down and kept them.

But from these people, she learned of people they call witches, or the Enchanted. They believe Green is one of them, and perhaps she is, because she keeps hope and stories alive when all other stories have gone. But when she is approached by the young man known as the Finder, because he can find parts for anything to keep them going. But there is one thing he can't find, his sister, Heather Jones. He wants... he needs Green's help, and to do that, she will have to seek out the other Enchanted, one by one, and learn their stories and the lessons they can teach her.

To assist her, he has rebuilt a typewriter for her, and put on straps so that she can carry it. Troy, the finder, is seeking a Witch who can make dreams come true, but can Green find her amongst the Enchanted she hasn't already met? And can Green and her dog, Onion, find out where Heather is, and block a plot by the Horde to destroy her village, because they haven't lost hope and are trying to rebuild? Can she find the man she loves, and build a place for both of them? Can she save her world?

This book, though small, is an absolute gem. It's the sequel to another Alice Hoffman book called Green Angel, which I have never read. Green's story is both mundane (the witches tell their stories, but none of them think they are witches or have any kind of powers), and yet, learns something from each woman and is given a gift- a gift that will aid her in her quest further down the road.

I loved this book, each word is so carefully chosen and evokes a picture in your mind. Green is looking for a witch who can make dreams come true, but in reality, she was that witch all along. It's a useful lesson, that we alone can make our dreams come true- no one else can fight for them and make them happen, and yet, the way the story is told is so lyrical and poetical that you sort of lose yourself in the flow of the words and the images they evoke in your mind.

This is one of the best books, if not the best book I have ever read for evoking a place and making you feel like you were there. The words just flow and carry you along almost without effort, like the book is a mother and you are a baby being rocked in its arms. It's incredible, and I loved it. Highly recommended. You must read this book.

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