"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Sunday, March 14, 2021

March 2021 Book Reviews: Featuring a Governess, a Flowery Horse, and a Raccoon who is a Boy’s Best Friend

Hello, everyone!

How are you all doing? Everything is feeling a bit surreal to me as yesterday marked one year since I’ve been anywhere in society. It was my last “normal” day before all of this. I know that other people have been out and about a bit, but things have been different for my family based on all of the risks associated. I can’t believe it and just want to check in on all of you.

Don’t feel bad for me, I’m very satisfied with all of the choices my family has made in the last year! Now with family members already getting first shots we’re getting closer. That isn’t what I’m here to talk about, but I thought I’d commemorate it in someway.

No, I’m here to talk about books! One of my goals this year is to review at least one book a month because even though my little corner of the web is called Movies Meet Their Match, I’m an avid reader! I don’t celebrate that enough and this is to change that. I’ll be giving you reviews of some books that I’ve wanted to talk about for awhile. When I say awhile, I’m not kidding. None of these have anything to do with March, that was just my way of organizing. Of all of these books the most recent one that I read was back in December of 2019....What can I say, I’m slow? Fear not, I remember them (and have copious notes) to provide you with ample information.

As a side note, what do all of you think of the title for this post? My brain tends to work only in strictly organized (aka boring) ways making my titles very official but not engaging. Inspired by Sarah Seele’s awesome blog post titles I decided to go informal and change it up! If you like my usual structure then don’t worry, this is a rare occurrence and you can find all of my reviews listed HERE like always.

Enough talk, let’s do this!

My guarantee: On ALL of my reviews there are NO spoilers unless I give you warning. All three of these book reviews are spoiler free!

Review #1:

Agnes Grey - by Anne Brontë:
‘...and indeed I was so fearful of being charged with childish frivolity, or stupid insensibility, that I carefully kept most of my bright ideas, and cheering notions to myself, well knowing they could not be appreciated.’
Agnes Grey is trying to make a living for herself by the only means that she knows how: being a governess. Used to being treated like family at home, she is unprepared for the separation she feels having to teach children who are horribly spoiled and don’t listen to her. She hopes for a better life ahead where she is understood and appreciated. What will she learn on her road in life and will it take her to better places?
Genres: Drama, Period Drama.
Characters: 7. There aren’t many to speak for, but most of them are shown to be rude! Or unmemorable, but that could just be based on how long ago I read this. There are exceptions, who are my favorites, of course.
My favorites:
Agnes Grey: I was texting my sister today and we were making connections of how much we are both like Agnes in different ways. She is a very emotional heroine, but I love her kindness that is such a contrast to the way she is treated.
“The best way to enjoy yourself is to do what is right, and hate nobody.”
Nancy Brown: Such a wonderful lady! I want to sit and soak up everything she says. She has had her share of troubles in life, but her faith is glorious.
“An’ so it is, Miss Grey, ‘a soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievious words stir up anger.’ It isn’t only in thence you speak to, but in yourself.”
Words/Writing style: 10. While I thought that this book was really dull, the writing was lovely! It is told in first person, which is so rare for the time frame when this was written! I mean, she wasn’t the first Brontë sister to use it. This book has so much wisdom just in Agnes’s thoughts and conversations. That was such a redeeming factor for me. Just a note, that in all of the quotes that I use, I’m copying out of my edition of the book so it might look wrong, but it is British spelling.
Quotability: 8. This opening line is my favorite and I think of it often!:
‘All true histories contain instruction; though, in some the treasure may be hard to find, and when found so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of racking he nut.’
Content: 10. People are unpleasant, mean, and rude to each other, but I wouldn’t call them cruel. Well, unless it is the one little boy when it comes to animals. They are shown to not be desirable friends, though, so it isn’t encouraged to emulate them (Sorry, I don’t know if you guys have noticed, but I’m killing it on these word choices today! Usually my vocabulary is so small!).
Originality: 5. This may seem harsh, but “governess meets mean employers” isn’t new to me in anyway. It also involves a trope that isn’t my favorite. There’s nothing wrong with it, and in real life it’s perfectly fine, but it always seems weird to me, personally.
“...but I cannot pretend to judge of a man’s character by a single, cursory glance at his face.”
(I did like this line a lot.)
Notes: There is a reference to Dogberry from Much Ado About Nothing!
Good For: Classics lovers, teachers.
Age Range: It would be fine for any age. It is not the most interesting book in the world and kids might get bored easily (am I admitting that I’m a kid at heart? Maybe...), but it might teach them lessons like, don’t pull pranks on your teachers because it upsets them a lot.
‘A carriage and a lady’s-maid were great conveniences; but, thank Heaven, she had feet to carry her and hands to minister to her own necessities.’
Overall Score: 7.5.
Worth reading?: Yes, for the enchanting writing alone!
Will I read again?: Nope. With so many books in the world I don’t see myself revisiting this. It was fairly short, which was nice! Based on the writing I now want to read more books by Anne Brontë, though!
Bonus thoughts:
I personally thought that this rather dull and tedious (if anyone gets why that is so funny based on what I’ve said in this review then you get an award) but it wasn’t bad. The story wasn’t flashy, and it was just someone speaking from experience of the injustice shown to governesses in a household as they were between family and servants. It leans into the unfairness of treating servants to roughly in the first place! We are all human beings who deserve respect.

Review #2:

Dandelion: The Extraordinary Life of a Misfit - by Sheelagh Mawe:
Dandelion doesn’t know it, but though she lives in Ireland, she comes from Arabian ancestry. She reflects that with her fiery spirit. All she knows is that she doesn’t want to be like other horses, but run free. If she were to escape her confines, where would she go? Loneliness is out in the world, so will she just be better to allow the humans to ride her?

“Life is always just, don’t you see? It gives precisely what you expect. No more and no less.”
Genres: I would call this Fiction, but the labels I can find for it are Nonfiction and Spirituality. I understand the second one, but the first isn’t fitting.
Characters: 7. There are so few, and they all have pretty typical roles. The rebel, the mentor, etc.
My favorites:
Timothy: After what I just said about the characters being typical, is my favorite one of the biggest stereotypes? Well, yeah. He was great, okay?
‘“Life is simple, me darling,” Timothy said firmly. “It only becomes difficult when you fail to understand that whatever you think about you become.”’
The human whose name I can’t remember: I am chagrined that I can’t remember his name because he was the best in the whole thing. He was the most original because he had so many struggles yet was very thoughtful and gentle.
Dandelion: Her growth was impressive. I like the element that this takes place in the real world so horses can talk to each other but they can’t talk to humans.
Words/Writing style: 7. The really weird thing about this book is that in every chapter it told you what was going to happen in the next chapter, therefore there wasn’t a lot of suspense. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I just haven’t seen it before and was a little confused by it. I don’t believe that there were any bad words.
‘Enchanted Dandelion was at the way her world changed when she saw it at speed. All the things she had known as whole, defined and stationary, could be changed to a blur of unfamiliar blues and greens and browns--the earth merging with the sky and the other way around--by the simple fact of her own amazing speed.’
(This is a lovely description besides how it starts out talking like Yoda would...)
Quotability: N/A. I’m coming to find that this category is a hard one. I haven’t had anyone to say the lines to, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good ones. I didn’t believe a word of the blarney, haha!
Content: 9. There is death and some pain, but that’s it.
Originality: 8. With all of the characters being so easy to read I thought that I knew where this was going. Turns out that I didn’t. The ending surprised me a lot!
Good For: Horse lovers. This book does tackle storytelling through a more spiritual perspective. It’s not tied to any religion, but really focuses on inner power and decisions. As the description on Goodreads says: “An uplifting story about finding your purpose and harnessing life's magic.”
Age Range: I think younger readers would appreciate the story while older readers would look for the lesson. As rare as this happens as it is usually the other way around, it might be not as interesting on older readers because of that. It really depends on the person and what they are looking to get from it!
Overall Score: 8.
Worth reading?: Sure! It was very cute. The ending was particularly worthwhile.
Will I read again?: You know what, I think I might. One day if I just need a little motivation then I might sit down to read this again. It’s very short so it wouldn’t be a lot of trouble!
Bonus thoughts:
This wasn’t anything exceptional, but I liked it! It was sweet and made me consider a new perspective.

Review #3:

Rascal - by Sterling North:
A boy raises a pet raccoon and they go on little adventures while the seasons change. Will they stay safe and out of trouble in their changing lives?
Genre: Memoir.
Characters: 8. There aren’t many to speak for, but they are cute!
My favorites:
Sterling: I love how much he loves his raccoon! It’s so sweet.
Sterling’s dad: He seemed very dependable.
Rascal: This fuzzy little creature has such a mischievous personality!
Words/Writing style: 9. No bad words to mention! I really loved how there is no denying it being a memoir and Sterling North tells us that these are stories from his childhood and not something that happened to someone else. As I wrote down, the wording is beautiful! Check out this:
‘I was still in that uncritical stage that allows for the enjoyment of poetry.
We came upon Lake Superior with similar astonishment and wild surmise---an entire ocean stretching far beyond the horizon, as though a sapphire half as big as the visible sky had been set among granite cliffs and northern pines.’
Quotability: N/A in this case.
Awards: 8: Newbery Medal Nominee (1964), Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, Dutton Animal Book Award (1963), Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award (1965), Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Reader's Choice Award (1966), William Allen White Children's Book Award (1966), Aurianne Award (1965), Oklahoma Sequoyah Award (1966). (Source)
Content: 8. There is talk about war, but it’s not too gory. There are animals who fight and get hurt.
Originality: 8. My description of this book sounds simple and that’s because it is. That is where the charm lies! There are bittersweet parts wrapped around happy golden summer days and it overall is darling.
‘Then all three of us went running out to the very tip of the point as though we were a little mad with happiness---as indeed we were.’
Good For: People who like animal stories or have pets.
Age Range: I would say that this is great for younger kids. Parts might get a little intense emotionally (or maybe that’s just me...) but I would say those 10 and up would be good.
‘August is an intemperate month in any case when emotions go up with the thermometer.’
Overall Score: 8. 
Worth reading?: Yeah! I’d seen it on the self of my library for a long time and I was happy to finally check it off as read.
Will I read again?: Yes, I think I will! I want to read it out loud to someone now. Maybe if I ever get back into babysitting?
Bonus thoughts:
There’s not much to add. It’s clearly what it is and doesn’t try to hide. It was short and easy to read while not lacking in emotions.

And I’m done for the day! Thank you so much for reading! Please tell me how you are all doing. Have you read any of these? What are you favorite animal books that aren’t the usual about dogs? Have you ever read a book that you should like based on multiple factors, but you just found it boring?

Wishing you all the best of health and happiness,



  1. wow, a year is a long time! You have probably gotten a lot of projects done though - that's the upside of staying home! Speaking for myself, I don't even like to talk about this whole corona stuff anymore....it's just gotten to be a subject I am not eager to discuss. Maybe that's bad on my part, but that's where I am.
    Hmmmm, I don't think I can think of any other books about dogs other than "Old Yeller" (and you said not to mention the regular ones, so....), although (you'll laugh at this...at least I hope you will) I was just reminded of the name of a children's book we used to read when we were little, about a dog named, Woof. Did you ever read any of those? They were by Danae Dobson.
    I hadn't heard of that particular Bronte book before. Yes, isn't that interesting how they "mispelled" words in those older books? :)
    Oh, and I really liked your post title!

    1. Yeah, I feel like I should've gotten more done in this time, but I have at least written a lot and dabbled in sewing! I'm so with you there. It seems like my parents are always talking about it and the other day my sister and I kind of broke because we are so tired of it. Important things need to be discussed, but it is so easily over done, you know?
      Ah, "Old Yeller"! That book was not what I was expecting, but sweet. Hey, that's a fun memory with those books! I've never heard of the "Woof" books, but my sisters and I went through a lot of dog books like that. "Harry the Dirty Dog" and the "Sally" books were our favorites, lol! Such nostalgia!
      Anne is less well known than her sisters, but I haven't read any of Emily's books yet. It is peculiar, isn't it? ;)
      Why, thank you, Katherine!

    2. Yes, time just flies by...today's Friday, right?! HeHe!
      Yes, it's certainly been a hot topic this past year! :)
      AGHH, I love Harry and the Dirty Dog!! Ahem....(gathers up self into a more dignified stance)...Uh, I mean I used to, USED, to love that book when I was little! :) .....Have you read Harry and the Lady Next Door????? :) :) :) Nostalgia, indeed! I hadn't heard of the Sally books, before!

    3. Right? Today we must still be in February. ;)
      Yeah, so much so that it's hard to get away from.
      Wait, what?? There was more than one book with Harry!!? I had no idea! My sisters and I never read any more than that one, but now (regardless of my age ;)) I'm going to have to see if I can find others! There were probably more Sally books, too, but I only ever read where she goes to the beach and the mountains.

  2. I can't believe it's been a year.

    RASCAL IS A BOOK????? I grew up on the movie!! (That is. "Grew up on" is pretty strong. Fact is I'd forgotten all about the movie until my mom mentioned it out of the blue the other day. But I was very fond of it and I had no idea it was a book.)

    I quite like the title. :D

    1. Who could've fathomed it?

      RASCAL IS A MOVIE?? Well, that shows you how well I did my research... XD I'll have to look into that now. So many times I'm talking to my sisters and they'll mention something that we were obsessed with when we were little and I can't believe that I'd completely forgotten it!

      Thank you, m'dear! I'm pleased to hear that. :D

  3. I loved Rascal so much as a kid that I spent like a year searching for a toy racoon. Finally found one, which I named Rascal, and still have :-)

    1. Hamlette, I love that! That is just so sweet! One year my sisters and I received a stuffed bunny whom we promptly named Harvey, inspired by the Jimmy Stewart movie! Names from stories are the best. :-)

  4. I think I read Rascal a really long time ago...I enjoyed it, but was a little appalled at the idea of a pet raccoon! (They're...kind of dangerous. XD)

    1. XD Apparently there are raccoons where I live, but I have NEVER seen one so they've always been a mysterious creature that I have been fascinated with. If I ever were to see one I would probably want to take a closer look...so yeah, very dangerous. XD

    2. Okay, honestly, you are lucky never to have seen one. We have them where I live, and they're very attracted to our chickens/ducks/etc., and they are TERRIFYING.
      We have one hanging around right now that's probably three feet long, not including the tail, and I went outside the other day and it was sitting NOT SIX FEET FROM THE DOOR coolly eating our cats' food. I screamed a scream that was heard around the house. It was...slightly embarrassing. (In other words, I would be happy to trade houses with you. XD)

    3. Wowza, three feet long!? That sounds very frightening! I don't blame you at all for screaming. Where my mom used to live she hated them because they would break her apple trees and the one time both my parents saw one here it was eating bird food, so they do sound quite pesky! I guess I'm lucky then. :)

  5. My family and I have been isolated for a year, too, because of heightened risk. It hurts. You're not alone, friend. *soft hugs*

    1. Katie, I cannot thank you enough for this comment. It made my day! One thing that I miss the most without always knowing it is a sense of community and you gave that to me with your kind words. <3 Thank you! We'll get through this together!

  6. I can't believe it's been a year. It kind of feels like forever.
    Great reviews. I think I might really like Rascal.

    1. Dude, I'm so used to this by now that "normal" is going to feel like the weirdest thing ever.
      If you give it a try then tell me if your guess is right!

  7. Replies
    1. Even though Anne doesn't get as gothic as her sisters in Agnes Grey, I feel like you'd like it the most out of these!

  8. I haven't read any of these, but Agnes Grey grabbed my attention. I have read Jane Eyre for school, and I loved it! I know a lot of people don't enjoy classics, but those are my favorites. :) My TBR list just got longer... XD

    1. Classics are my favorite, too! I read Jane Eyre AGES ago and didn't love it, but my sister recently read it and I'm encouraged to try it again sometime. TBR lists never end. XD


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"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles