Book Review Wednesday: Flutter


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From Erin Moulton’s website:
Big things are about the happen at Maple's house. Mama's going to have a baby, which means now there will be four Rittle sisters instead of just three. But when baby Lily is born too early and can't come home from the hospital, Maple knows it's up to her to save her sister. So she and Dawn, armed with a map and some leftover dinner, head off down a river and up a mountain to find the Wise Woman who can grant miracles. Now it's not only Lily's survival that they have to worry about, but also their own. The dangers that Maple and Dawn encounter on their journey makes them realize a thing or two about miracles-and about each other.
 
“The book is written by Erin Moulton who also graduated from VCFA.” I told this to my twelve and a half year old son who looked over my shoulder as I finished the Flutter, by Erin Moulton. “So you know that it’s good.” If you are a writer, you know that it takes a village to raise a writer and her story. I knew when I read Ms. Moulton’s acknowledgements that the story of Flutter, was born in a village that respects children, story and literary craft.
 
Ms. Moulton’s characters grow up in a wonderful family full of love. Love for each other certainly, but also a deep love for the Vermont mountains. Their father has them memorize the Latin names for birds, teaches them map skills and first aid, and appreciates the call of the coyote and the lights of the Aurora Borealis. The back-story to Maple and Dawn’s knowledge makes them both believable and likeable. Ms. Moulton never pauses the story to give the reader this backstory but weaves it in a way that keeps the narrative moving forward.
 
The author does a wonderful job portraying the sibling dynamic between the older bossypants sister and the middle sister (the narrator) who is desperately trying to define herself by her own achievements, know-how, and bravery. Her use of first-person present tense, keeps us in the moment for many of the tense and suspenseful moments of the girl’s quest.Whether we are reading about a white water scare, or a knock down drag out between the sisters we are in the midst of the action.
 
It was refreshing to read a survival/adventure story with smart and savvy girls as the protagonists. The book is a true hero’s journey where Maple (our heroine) questions then accepts the call for adventure. Moulton includes supernatural intervention in the form of a butterfly and the Wise Woman of the Mountain. She and Dawn move beyond their ordinary world, encounter trials, and return (ultimately with help from without) to a greater understanding of life, death, strength, truth, and hope for their future. All this with the added benefit of beautiful language, fabulous pacing, and true-to-life wilderness adventure.
 
 

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