Friday, July 15, 2011

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

"September read often, and liked it best when words did not pretend to be simple, but put on their full armor and rode out with colors flying."
-pg.51, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
In my own words:
September is a twelve year old girl accepted the offer that the Green Wind had given her to fly off to Fairyland. Little did she know what she would have in store for her. She finds the land in turmoil, the beloved Queen replaced with the nasty Marquess, and herself with only one shoe (which the Green Wind comforts us with . September might not have needed to meet this tyrant, but she took it upon herself to help a witch get her stolen item back. During her adventures, she finds herself in unfortunate situations where she meets the most unusual, sometimes friendly and sometimes not, creatures as September discovers the many corners of Fairyland.

If you haven't read the quote above, go back up there. I will wait. Have you read it? Good. (If you still haven't, well, I am wondering why you haven't because it is in important. If you are still reading, I applaud your gusto.) The quote relates to what I will write next. This book has some of the most beautiful language that I ever read. You are captured in the story by the words that are just as magical as Fairyland. The gorgeous beauty of the language stands out since I felt like I was almost sucked into Fairyland myself.

The characters in this book are made possible by the language I went on about above. It really brings out the way characters look, the way the characters act, and the way the characters speak. The land itself is like several characters since you learn so much about Fairyland, even if you only spend a small amount of time there. The story is told by a narrator, not by September, and it makes me wonder if the narrator has spent some time in Fairyland or took their role seriously by researching the herd of bicycles or what it is like to ride on a leopard

There are familiar ideas throughout the story that we see in fantasy, but the author (er, narrator) has really twisted them so they are their own. This isn't Alice in Wonderland, but really, it is September in Fairyland. You believe in the story and the words that are told to you, and it is really a pleasant thing.

I am really amazed by this book and how it was written. The author, Catherynne M. Valente, took to writing the chapters and posted them online first. She accepted donations from her readers, asking them to pay what they deemed it worth. The full book was online, but with the publication, only the first few chapters are available in written form or in audio format (for your ears). Go over there and read your fill, and I know you will buy this book. The hardcover has illustrations that aren't included in the online copy that really add to the lovely adventure.

If you need a guide for Fairyland, this might not be the right book to read before you go. It might give you the wrong impression, however, you may read it if you keep that in mind. If you get too flustered, just remember that this is a story based there, and not the real thing. (Or that is how I took it.) I dare you to get lost in the language, but be careful not to get too lost or you might not make it home.

5 out of 5 Stars-- Loved it and would read it again!



  1. Lovely book I bought for my daughter. It's been making the rounds in family and everyone love it. Now I want one for my own library. She's made it a "Special" book on her shelves. We certainly found this story to be truly unique and lovely to read.

  2. That's so lovely to hear! It's wonderful when you find those books that speak to you. Happy reading!


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