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Friday, January 8, 2010

Flashback Friday Review: Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer

Flashback Friday is a feature where I'll review a book that I read when I was young, reread now years later :)

Title: Charlotte Sometimes
Author: Penelope Farmer
Publication Date: 1969
Originally Read: circa 1989

Charlotte finds it difficult to sleep her first night at boarding school, but she does manage to drift off in the uncomfortable bed. Waking in the middle of the night, she sees a cedar tree looming outside her window, outlined by a silver moon. The tree had not been there the night before.
A trick of the light, Charlotte thinks, and she falls asleep again. But in the morning it's not just the tree that's new; the whole room is different, old-fashioned, and her roommate Susannah is gone, replaced by a strange girl named Emily, who insists on calling Charlotte "Clare". Is Charlotte dreaming, or could she have slipped back in time?
 (back cover)

I have such fond memories of this book. I can even remember exactly where it sat on my bookcase in my bedroom (next to the closet, bottom shelf :)
I loved the simplicity of it. No convoluted explanation for why Charlotte and Clare switched places. They just did. The book was more about the characters themselves and what they went through.
Since we only have Charlotte point of view, it was exciting for me to imagine Clare - as seen through the eyes of her sister Emily who Charlotte confides in.
There is also Sarah, a teacher in Charlotte's time that seems to know who Charlotte is and was told by her mother to 'be nice'. Who is Sarah and what part does she play in the girl's lives? We find out towards the end of the book and I was happy to say - I had forgotten how it ended - so I was happy to be surprised all over again.
I have no idea where my original copy of Charlotte Sometimes wound up but I was able to find a used copy of the same printing. As a treasure of my childhood, I plan on keeping it for my daughter to read :)

5 comments:

  1. OMG I have this book too! I remember it well. So cool that you wrote about this today!

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  2. Lovely review. Thank you for sharing your memories with us :)

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  3. I absolutely adored this book, and I've also reviewed it because I had such fond memories of reading it so many times years ago. Amazing ending, too. Thanks for reminding me!

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  4. I looooooooooooooooooooooove this book. If you (like me) read the 89 version, check out the original version or the re-release (which is based on the original). THE ENDING IS DIFFERENT.

    Horribly shocking, but still wonderful.

    Also, it's a good excuse to listen to the Cure. Everyone mocks my love of Harry Potter rock, but no one mocks Cure songs based on children's books!

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