Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: Girl with the Silver Eyes

Girl with the Silver Eyes
Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book when I was younger, and I remember liking it very much, but I couldn't remember why.

Katie Welker is an unusual girl. She creeps people out, because of her flat expression and silver-colored eyes. That's even before they know that she can move small objects with her mind, call up breezes that can slam doors and scatter papers, and she can communicate with animals. When her grandmother, who's been taking care of her most of her life, passes away unexpectedly, she goes to live with her mother. Soon after, a man shows up asking odd questions about her, and she finds out she's not alone in what makes her different from so many others.

It's like the book was written for a young me. Young Katie is never happier than when she's curled up reading an excellent book. Her classmates don't like her and make fun of her, but she has ways of deterring bullies, though the bullies don't entirely realize what she can do. And her happy ending is finding other kids just like her.

But this could just as easily be an allegory for autism. While kids on the spectrum don't move things with their mind, they do tend to be shunned by their peers and have a sense of not fitting in, and there's been a debate, as at the end of this book, about whether they're better off sheltered from the general population or integrated into society. (We're moving more toward a model of integration, which is why I'm glad the book didn't end up with Katie and her newfound friends being shuttled off to an institution. The ending leaves it open to interpretation.)

Overall, while the writing style doesn't hold up to what I remembered, I did enjoy refreshing my memory about this book. The story held up well, and it told me a lot about my younger self, who loved this book to pieces.

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