At Home in Mitford
by Jan Karon
Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 014-025448-X
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Carolyn Howard-Johnson
At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
The First Novel in the Beloved Mitford Series
A Penguin Book 1996-first published in 1994
General Fiction-Suitable for All Ages
Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Author of This is the Place
Literature can feel like a warm breeze in summer or a cozy fire in winter. Trouble is, it seldom does. Sometimes we have to go back a bit to find characters we can truly love, a book that gives us the "warm fuzzies." Come to think of it, even then the task might not be easy.
If that's the kind of reading you long for post 9/11, I've found it for you. It is At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon. This is a book that will bridge the gap between generations. It is one that could be read aloud a campfire or a Christmas tree. When I was teaching, I might have chosen it to read to sixth graders one chapter at a time.
In it is a sassy twelve-year-old boy who is prone to using the word "poop" at the bemusement of his adopted caretaker, a kind but savvy Episcopal priest. If anyone feels that this word will offend a sixth grader, they haven't spent much time hanging around the schoolyard in the last couple of decades.
As for readers who are a bit older (teens and twenty somethings), this story may lag. I enjoyed the leisurely pace. It fit well with the setting, the kind-hearted characters and the soft sense of humor used to tell it. In other words, this book had a "voice," a very difficult concept to teach to sixth graders or anyone else. Students come to know it when they read it but it's darn hard to define. Jan Karon has managed to do just that-by example. Her "voice" rings loud and true.
(The reviewers' award-winning novel was published by AmErica House, Baltimore. Christen Beckman, editor, says it has “…characters so vivid it is difficult to stop thinking of them, even after the reading has stopped.” Find out more at www.tlt.com/authors/carolynhowardjohnson.htm)