My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first heard of this book on the author’s own LJ blog. She wrote this during the US crash; Valente’s husband had been laid off and they were having difficulties paying their rent and other bills. Instead of merely asking for donations, she decided to write The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, a YA novel mentioned in her adult novel, Palimpsest. She was going to write a chapter a week, and readers could pay her whatever amount they deemed the story deserved.
I knew, after reading the fantastic first chapter online, that the serial would be published. And so I waited for the paperback, and I’m glad to finally get my hands on a copy.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this book. Its world is as absurd and as original and as magical and as frightening as Wonderland or Neverland. High time this generation got their own Wendy or Alice to love, and what better girl to love than September?
It is a marvel Valente was able to create such a playful landscape with the problems of the real world looming over her family like a gray cloud. Or maybe it’s not – a writer creates the best worlds to escape to, when escape is needed.
The meat of the story: September is a girl who lives in Omaha. Her father has gone off to war and her mother has gone off to work, and she is tired of washing teacups and waiting for her mother to come home. One day the Green Wind appears in the kitchen window, and offers her a ride to Fairyland. I won’t tell you anything more. Fairyland is best explored alone, and without a map.
Read the first two chapters here.