by Shiela O’Connor
246 pages to ponder – what if, what was what could be…
How would you feel if your mom took a new job and all of a sudden your summer changed? How would you feel if you found yourself at a strange dilapidated mansion populated by a few eccentric artists? You’ve got lots of questions, but you get no answers. You know Grampa Mac, back in Milwaukee, is angry about it. You know that your mom isn’t telling you the whole truth. And Viktor, the guy driving the truck out from the train station, is less than friendly – he’s almost creepy in fact.
That’s how Raine’s summer begin – with one added twist, no talking at all until dinner six days a week, no electronics either. Fortunately Raine and her mom arrive on a talking day. Raine meets the artists: a confused elderly poetess, Lillian, a severe reclusive writer Eleanor, a vibrant joyous fabric artist, Josie and an optimistic collector mosaic artist, Diego. She learns about Sparrow Road, Sorrow Lake, and the orphanage that once stood there. But what’s a 12-year old supposed to do with her days, with her summer?
“But silence until supper?” I asked. “Every day? That sound absolutely horrible.”
“I know.” Diego nodded. “It sounds bad in the beginning. But trust me, you’ll learn to like it, Raine… And Sparrow Road’s the perfect place for dreams.”
“Sure. Like the way you start to daydream when you’re bored. Or, there’s nothing but quiet so you dream.”
“Six days a week till supper? That’s a lot of bored.”
“Oh, it’s not boring really. Because an artist just gets busy and creates. All the time alone becomes a painting or a poem or a quilt”
“When I was young I used to dream up stories,” I said. “But that won’t keep me busy until supper.”
Diego laughed again. “You’re still young, Raine. And you might be surprised how much you create in all that quiet. You could write a book at Sparrow Road.”
“About what?” I asked.
“Who knows?” Diego smiled. “That’s part of the discovery. Just start out on a journey. Ask yourself, What if? Or think about what was or what could be. And suddenly” – he snapped his fingers – ” like magic, you’ll be drifting in a dream.”
“What if?” I asked. “What was? Or what could be?” Diego makd the silence sound enchanted. Not a rule, but a chance.
“I swear it works for me,” Diego said. “Just give it a try tomorrow. Let me know what you dream up.” (p 31-32)
There are dreams for Raine and challenges and mysteries. There are joys and grave sorrows. There are choices and changes. What if? What was? What could be? Go to Sparrow Road to find out. You’ll be glad you did.