Read Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright Free Online
Book Title: Then There Were Five|
The author of the book: Elizabeth Enright
ISBN 13: 9781593160333
Format files: PDF, Epub, DOCx, TXT
The size of the: 24.16 MB
Edition: Listen & Live Audio
Date of issue: September 1st 2004
Reader ratings: 7.6
Loaded: 440 times
Read full description of the books Then There Were Five:
This 1944 YA/MG novel is a charming, nostalgic trip to a simpler time, when kids explored the outdoors, swam in swimming holes, searched for Indian arrowheads, and fished for jumbo catfish. A livestock auction and homemade fair with a variety show of local talent provide enough excitement for weeks. As a young teen, I learned about the Perseid meteor shower every August from reading this book. Luna moths and monarch butterflies inhabit its pages. I adored this book, and still have a huge soft spot for it.
This middle grade novel was first published while WWII was still in full swing, and the war provides the backdrop for the story of the four Melendy children, Mona, Rush, Miranda (Randy) and Oliver, ages 15 to 7. The war is in the background, but there are reminders of it with metal scrap drives, rationing, and mock airplane battles, as well as the absence of the children's widowed father, who spends most of his time away helping with the war effort.
So the children (with the help of a housekeeper and a handyman), are mostly on their own for the summer. Among other things, they befriend a local orphaned teenager, Mark, who has been living with his neglectful and abusive second cousin.
There are a few sobering notes to this tale, mostly involving the nasty cousin Oren and his low-class friends, but for the most part this is an enjoyable, old-fashioned tale of a halcyon summer. There are also some delightful humorous moments:As [Randy] swam she encountered an occasional floating leaf; an occasional struggling fly or beetle. Each fly or beetle she rescued and set upon a leaf boat to dry his soaked wings and legs. It gave her a feeling of virtue. She could imagine all heaven looking down upon her and approving. Notice Miranda Melendy; she is a kind, generous girl. She ought to be rewarded. She swam back again with a smile of sweet unselfishness; a misty radiance about her bathing-capped head.
"Why do you swim with your head way out like that?" inquired Rush. "And why are you grinning that goonish way?"
Randy grabbed her brother's ankle and yanked him in again. Naturally Rush dunked her. Naturally she dunked Rush. Heaven ceased to contemplate Miranda Melendy and went about its business, and Randy's halo fell off and was lost in thirty feet of water.I fell in love with this book as a teenager, and it holds up well with adult rereading. It reminds me of Anne of Green Gables or maybe The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. This is actually the third book in a series, but it's by far my favorite. You can read the others, beginning with The Saturdays, if you really like old-fashioned YA stories. But I think this one works fine as a stand-alone read, and it really is delightful. Definitely find a copy with the author's charming original illustrations.
Read information about the authorElizabeth Enright (1907-1968) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, but spent most of her life in or near New York City. Her mother was a magazine illustrator, while her father was a political cartoonist. Illustration was Enright's original career choice and she studied art in Greenwich, Connecticut; Paris, France; and New York City. After creating her first book in 1935, she developed a taste, and quickly demonstrated a talent, for writing. Throughout her life, she won many awards, including the 1939 John Newbery Medal for Thimble Summer and a 1958 Newbery Honor for Gone-Away Lake. Among her other beloved children's titles are her books about the Melendy family, including The Saturdays, published in 1941. Enright also wrote short stories for adults, and her work was published in The New Yorker, The Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, The Yale Review, Harper's, and The Saturday Evening Post. She taught creative writing at Barnard College. Translated into many languages throughout the world, Elizabeth Enright's stories are for both the young and the young at heart.
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