I think, in some significant ways, this book changed my life. I hated reading, and I certainly wasn't any good at it. Then, in the fourth grade I was "forced" to read this book. Well, I was hooked. I read more of her books, and then went looking for other stories in the same genre. I devoured the works of Asimov, Clark, Tolkien (I saw SF and Fantasy as one genre back then). After that book, my reading skills and my school work improved in wild leaps and bounds. I don't think I'd be where I am today, with a Master's Degree, if I hadn't found a love of reading born from Ms. L'Engel's wonderful story. If you're a parent trying to entice a child to read, this is the book you want.
If you are looking for that sense of wonder that truly great speculative fiction stories deliver, then this is the book for you. The worlds are well-thought out and wonderous. The characters are belivable and lovable, and the message of the story, that all people should think for themselves, bide their own council, and trust their own judgement rather than flock, like lemmings, after a crowd that may well be running straight off a cliff, is timeless, valuable, and wonderfully illustrated.
This is, simply, one of the finest books ever written.
By the cover it seems like the plot is about the character exploring kink. But it's not.
By the set up it seems like the plot is about finding out who the mysterious notes are for (discovered by accident) and who they are from (also discovered by accident) and it's not.
Most of the set up would suggest that the plot is about the fateful meeting of two characters (and really, if the set-up of the meeting is that long, the meeting has to actually happen) but it's not.
Midway through a health crisis is introduced about the protagonist's mother, but it's resolved fast and isn't the plot.
The final resolution is of a very minor sub-plot that the character didn't seem to care about through the rest of the book.
Really, don't bother.
If you like religious books on how to walk the walk and talk the talk of Christianity, this book might be for you. If you are of a mind that faith governs all, up to and including time management and career planning skills -- you might like it.
If you actually want a business book on how to write your own personal mission statement, forget it. Better to look to Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People or check out the FranklinCovey store or website.
Honestly, making something up on your own would be better than this book; at least it would be on topic.
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