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An Episode of Sparrows

by Rumer Godden
247 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Lady Meriwen

You'll enjoy the story, but you'll want to do some soul-searching afterwards.

Plot

A little garden of her own. That is all that young Lovejoy wants, and with the help of Tip--the surprisingly gentle leader of a rough group of boys--she searches for a way to fulfill her dream. Lovejoy will have her garden, no matter what it takes.

Morality

Lovejoy and Tip steal several times, but that's shown to be wrong. Good and evil are blurred only occasionally. In chapter 15 there is a beautiful exposition of the relationship--not necessarily sexual--between a man and a woman.

Spiritual Content

The author seems to be coming from a Catholic worldview. After Lovejoy steals money from the church, she can't face the statue of Mary. Tip has a "spiritual" conversation with Lovejoy, but his religious ideas are confused.

Violence

There's a scuffle towards the end of the book, but it isn't graphically described.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is drunk in a fashionable setting.

Sexual Content

One of the characters hints at the sexual activity of Lovejoy's mother.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

This is a sweet and sympathetic view of the life of London street children in the 1950s. It successfully avoids both sentimentality and harshness--and is powerful in a simple way.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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