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Green Angel (2004)

Green Angel (2004)
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Rating
3.88 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0439443857 (ISBN13: 9780439443852)
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English
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scholastic paperbacks
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Green Angel (2004)
Green Angel (2004)

About book: Author: Alice HoffmanTitle: Green AngelGenre: magical realism, tale of survivalPublication Info: Scholastic. New York. 2003.Recommended Age: 13 and olderPlot Summary: Green, a moody, introspective 15-year-old, stays at home while her parents and younger sister travel to the city to sell their vegetable produce. Being intentionally left behind to tend the garden causes her to not say goodbye to her family. From across the river, Green watches in horror as the city explodes into flames. Even at her distance, she is not kept safe from embers entering her eyes. She becomes partially blinded. She waits for her family for days, but they never return. Green feels guilty for her previous behavior. She punishes herself by carving dark tattoos all over her body. The outside world is in anarchy and even Green—having a supernatural talent for gardening—refuses to help the suffering plants from the ash that blankets them. By putting on a tough front, she protects herself from looters and others who try to cheat her. She even sews thorns and pounds nails into her clothing so that no one can get close to her. Several surviving animals and people come into Green’s life and somehow restore her love of nature and life. One boy shows up long enough to help replant the garden and instill in Green a reason for living again. At the end of the book, her vision is restored and she sets out to tell her story of heartache and survival.Personal Notes: I found the book hard to grasp at times. This may have been because of the magical realism. There were times the story seemed hauntingly real, and other times where things just did not make sense. For example, why were so many youth who had lost their families allowed to live on the streets and on their own? Where was the police? Child Protective Services? Extended family members? I had a hard time imagining her needing to sell off all the family belongings for food and making bread out of ground chestnuts for so long. I wouldn’t really know how to go about teaching this book in the classroom, so I would recommend it for individual reading only. Evaluation: This book is somewhat difficult to read. It delves into some deep issues of survival, solitude, and hope. While written for a younger audience, the story also calls for sophisticated readers. I think that students with a taste for the gothic would particularly enjoy this story.Other Comments: I wonder if this book was written with the intent to help youth cope with the horrors of 9/11. The actual disaster in the story was not explained well at all. It was quite confusing, really. What would cause the whole city to shake and burn down? Why would people have felt the need to jump from the buildings? These are some of the questions I had while reading the novel.

Green Angel / 0-439-65878-0This story of a young girl's loss of her entire family and her own identity, and the subsequent struggle to regain herself in the aftermath of the loss, will no doubt make an impression on anyone. The deep themes of loss and survivor guilt are explored thoroughly, against a backdrop of magical realism. Somehow, "Green Angel" puts me in mind of "Island of the Blue Dolphins", for the titular character "Green" often seems just as isolated and alone, despite her interactions with her neighbors and village people, largely due to the almost complete lack of dialogue throughout the book. And, like "Island of the Blue Dolphins", Green's survival and grasp on humanity is aided by numerous animals, each of which she gently nurses to health, cherishes, and finally frees, recognizing that being wild is an intrinsic part of *their* characters. Despite its deep themes and achingly lovely narrative, "Green Angel" will not please all audiences. The novel is extremely short - a little more than 100 pages - and the frequent repetition will enable quick readers to whip through in an hour or so. The novel relies heavily on magical realism, with Green often surviving on little more than a few nuts a day, and with health issues largely determined by the demands of the plot. Characters and themes drift in and out of the story, creating an aching, detached narrative to match Green's dissociation from her pain, but in such a way that may frustrate more literal-minded readers. "Green Angel" is worth trying, if only for the beauty of the prose and the painful themes contained within, and with such a short time investment to the novel, any reader owes it to themselves to check it out, and approach the novel with an open heart. And if you do read and enjoy "Green Angel", make certain to also read the even better sequel, "Green Witch".~ Ana Mardoll
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Reviews
Susana
This story was beautifully written. Each and every phrase evocative of a deeper meaning, that i honestly find myself lacking the proper words to describe how much i liked it. Liked it, is just too insignicant... i guess it becamed part of me, as only the greatest stories; the ones that truly touch our hearts, are capable of doing it. If we let them...For me, this author is outstanding in this gender. She weaves the most sad, heartbreaking stories, in perfect tapestries, made of memories and ghosts, tears and love.This is the story of fifteen year old Green. The older daughter, the quiet daughter...I was the least among them, nothing special, just a girl. I was a moody, dark weed; still, theycalled me Green because of my talents in the gardenWhen her sister and parents are killed, Green's starts to disappear beneath the cover of thornsOne night when the sky was ash-coloured, I went into the ruined garden and clipped the thorns from the bare rosebushes, then sewed them to my clothes, one by one, until my fingers bled. Now I was ready to feel nothing. I was protected from feeling anything at all.and tattoos....I didn't deserve anything, not food to ease my hunger or water toease my thirst.(..) That was when I took a pin and some black ink. I began to mark my arm. I outlined a raven, and then a bat, then a rose that looked like a flower found at the end of the world. That's who I was now without my mother and my father and my moonlit sister. Blood and ink.Darkness where before there had been patience, black where there'd once been green....that she starts using as armor against the world, even against herself. After a while, Green starts to give place to Ash. A girl that lives among ashes and pain...a girl whose own sight becomes cloudy...This is a story about surviving grief.A evocative, quirky, sad little story, sprinkled with bits of wisdom as just Alice Hoffman is capable of doing. I'm looking forward to read the next one Green Witch.
Blake Fraina
Nearly forty years after Hiroshima/Nagasaki, two years after the WTC attacks and two years before the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Alice Hoffman published this spare, elegant and evergreen fable about apocalyptic catastrophe, loss, grief and, ultimately, healing. It recalls two of my favourite childhood reads, Shirley Rousseau Murphy's [long out of print] The Sand Ponies and Patricia McKillip's seminal fantasy, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld.After losing her entire family in an unspecified (seemingly nuclear) disaster, fifteen year old Green must fend for herself in a barren and desperate world. Nearly blind, starving and paralysed with grief, she slowly heals herself by reaching out to others (including a wounded greyhound, two orphaned birds, an injured hawk and a elderly neighbor) needier than herself while clinging to fond memories of the loving relationships with her parents and beloved twin sister, Aurora. Hoffman's skill as a novelist is apparent. Her prose is simple and dreamy, designed for maximum emotional impact. I wept several times in the story. I think that says a lot for a YA novel. This book offers a heartbreaking lesson in the importance of loving and letting go, as well as the necessity to rejoice in every moment of life.
Amy
I was bought this book for Christmas 2009, by my boyfriend's mother, who I love talking about books with. I asked her to choose me something I'd like and she chose well for me - I did like it. Green Angel is a sweet and charming read about grief and how one young girl deals with it after losing her family in a fire. Is it supposed to be aimed at younger readers? I've read several of Alice Hoffman's other books and they feel very different, in tone if not entirely in plot - although the post-apocalyptic setting differs greatly from her usual small-town America, as in The River King and elsewhere. However, this use of non-location is the one thing that makes the book feel more powerful - in a sense, it could be anywhere. It was very poetic but in a way that I occasionally found try-hard and slightly irritating. This would have been one of my very favourite books if I'd read this at 14 or 15. As it is, I enjoyed it and found it entertaining and not at all depressing as many of the other reviewers have said here.
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