Monday, November 6, 2017

One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn | A Book Review

One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This review should have been done in time for Halloween but I was feeling out of sorts for these past few days. My mind was all over the place and I thought that if I write my reviews, they will only reflect my state of mind and emotions and not the real feelings the stories evoked from me during the time of reading. Now, I am bit better but still trying to figure out some personal things. One step at a time. Though, all I want to do is run to some faraway place.

This story is set in 1918. The time when the outbreak of Influenza was wrecking havoc in the US. Annie, a new girl in school was claimed as a best friend by Elsie, a girl who was teased by the other girls, an outcast. Her classmates call her a tattletale, a liar and a thief. Annie was forced to befriend Elsie, even though it seems like she's the last girl she wants to be friends with. Then, Elsie got stricken with the flu and died. She then started to haunt Annie as revenge for the cruelties she had suffered while she was alive.

This is a story about bullying but in this story it was not so clear who's who--the bullies and the bullied. It seemed that Elsie, who claimed to be bullied by everyone, in a way, deserved it because she was a bully herself.  Elsie was a very lonely child, one who was unloved and in need of attention. Only, her way of getting those was forcing it out from someone. Annie was a victim and she was right not to stick with Elsie because she was just a thorn in the side and a force of negative energy no one needs. In the end, all Elsie needed was a friend and a little kindness.

I feel sorry for Annie for having the misfortune of meeting Elsie. If I was in Annie's place, I too would avoid her, but Elsie was just a force all on her own. There was no avoiding her and her wrath, even after death.  

I am not sure if I liked Annie at all. In some way, she and her friends have it coming for them because they tormented Elsie to no end. Yes, Elsie had it coming also because she was no model character at all but then, the taunts and teasing should have stopped somewhere. I think it went too much that Elsie also was pushed to the wall and her only way of getting even is to take her revenge, after death. Life was so unkind to her and she should have been kinder but out of depravity, she somehow thought that she was owed something that she must collect.

This is a scary enough ghost story which was written from the author's mom's story. A story fit for children to scare them and teach them of kindness. Whether this story is true or not, it is a good tool to teach kids how important it is to be kind to others. I would definitely pass this on to my nephews, nieces and kids to be. Not to scare them but more to do with what damage bullying can cause.

I give this 3/5 angel statues. The moral of the story is to be kind to everyone. Everyone has her own battles, more so with the bullies. Jealousy is never a good thing. The more you feed it, the more it will control you. Elsie was a deprived and jealous kid that she somehow demanded from Annie attention, friendship and kindness, which in some way, should have been given freely if she were just open to it. I pity Elsie and I hope that no child is as deprived, sad, desperate, jealous and vengeful as her. That somehow, she will find comfort and kindness in life, unlike Elsie.





One Crow for sorrow,
Two Crows for mirth;
Three Crows for a wedding,
Four Crows for a birth;
Five Crows for silver,
Six Crows for gold;
Seven Crows for a secret, not to be told;
Eight Crows for heaven,
Nine Crows for hell;
And ten Crows for the devil's own self.

- Counting Rhyme (from The Folklore of Birds, by Laura C. Martin, 1993) -



Thank you Netgalley for the copy.