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Words and dreams and magic books -- THE GREEN MAN reviewed

July 30, 2014 | Ken Sparling | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Book cover the green man by michael bedardThe Green Man by Michael Bedard

Reviewed by Edmee, age 19

“You can’t turn around in our family without running into a poet,” says O, the protagonist of Michael Bedard’s The Green Man. Bedard’s enchanting story follows fifteen-year-old O, a strong-minded and charming girl with a father obsessed with Ezra Pound and an eccentric aunt who makes her living through her secondhand bookshop called the Green Man. After Aunt Emily has a heart attack, O moves into the bookshop’s attic for the summer. There, she can keep a better eye on her nervous and sickly aunt, and in a space surrounded by words and — to O’s initial skepticism — ghosts, O begins to find her own poetic voice.

Poetry, however, seems to go hand in hand with madness. An acclaimed but impoverished poet, Emily struggles. She insists O sidestep a spot on the stairs, claiming that the dead poet Mallarmé sits there. She holds entire conversations while she sits alone in a room. She’s plagued by nightmares about children taking part in an unsettling magic show, disappearing into mirrors and being run through by swords. While O is willing to help run the shop, will she ever be able to help Emily overcome what seems to be the spell of a dream? Or is the realm of words and dreams and magic books much more than it seems?