Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
Winner, 1983 Newbery Award
In the sequel to Homecoming, Dicey Tillerman and her three sibling settle in with their grandmother after their mother can no longer care for them.
This was like talking to a bowl of Jello. Everything you said slipped in and jiggled the Jello, but it didn't make any dents.
About the Author
Cynthia Voigt is the author of numerous books for children and young adults, including several series. Although she knew she wanted to be a writer while in high school, it wasn't until after she won the Newbery Medal for Dicey's Song that she finally left teaching to write full time.
My project was inspired partly by an early passage in the book: "The ribbons unrolled back until Dicey saw her momma's face. But it wasn't her momma's own face she saw, it was the photograph the police in Bridgeport had shown her for identification, that faraway face lying back against a white pillow, with the golden hair cut short all around it." I liked the idea of creating the sleeping woman looming in the background of this piece. Momma never speaks in the book, yet she's a huge, looming presence. I also liked the idea of cutting the image into ribbons or strips to show how she is mentally fractured.
The blue and aqua painted background represents the Chesapeake Bay setting. Dicey loves the idea of sailing and works on fixing up a boat through the course of the book, so I included a small pewter sailboat. The four stars represent the four children.
I initially felt reluctant to read this book knowing that it was the second in a series that I had not read, but I can honestly say that the book stands on its own. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters, especially Dicey, are all so lifelike that I can understand why the author said that she's always asked if this series is based on fact. (It isn't.) It reads more like a memoir than a novel with Dicey's emotions and thoughts. Even the most minor characters feel fully realized. Dicey's Song is one of seven books about the Tillermans and their circle of friends.
As an aside, I had one of those "worlds collide" moments with this book. I enjoyed Gretchen Rubin's book Better Than Before that talked about the four tendencies. She mentioned some fictional characters that fit these tendencies, but was having trouble finding rebel examples. I believe that Dicey is a rebel; she does what she pleases, never asking for permission or worrying about what other people think about her.
If you read this book, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.