Monday, September 18, 2006

Book Review--Corey's Fire by Lee Wardlaw

For our first book review on "Voices from the Inglenook" it seemed fitting that the book chosen is the re-issue of Corey's Fire by local Santa Barbara author and former Cold Spring student (!) Lee Wardlaw. She's also the author of the popular 101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher and 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents and she presented a wonderful and fondly remembered assembly for Cold Spring students in 2005.

Corey's Fire was orignally published in 1990 and is based on an event that happened in our own community, the Sycamore Canyon Fire of 1977, in which 200 homes were destroyed, including Lee's family home. Lee has woven a beautiful story of 15-year-old Corey, a girl
inbetween childhood and adulthood, and chronicles the life-changing event that altered her view of the world, herself, and her family.

The harrowing description of Corey's attempt to save her family's home during the fire is only the beginning of her journey to understand her own feelings about growing up and changing. She begins to see her parents as real people, with flaws and fears of their own, and as the family struggles to rebuild their lives and their home, she blossoms into an intelligent, courageous young woman.

Lee's writing style is very open and accessible and the light touch of romance between Cory and her neighbor, Topher, is very nicely done.

As I sat in my home this weekend re-reading this book, I was listening to the Santa Anas and smelling the smoke from the Day Fire. I have to say it was a little eerie. Lee has given us a novel that puts a very human face on an event that happened almost 30 years ago in our own commuity, and something we always worry about at this time of year. Maybe it would be better to read this on a rainy day with a cozy fire safely contained in the fireplace!

I can well understand why this book was re-printed by the Author's Guild. We have two signed copies in the Library. Please feel free to check them out....maybe after the first rain!

Best for grades 5 and up.

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