Imperfections by Lynda Durrant

ImperfectionsIn 1862 Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, fourteen-year-old Rosemary Elizabeth strives to fit in with the Shaker sisters of this “Heaven on Earth.” She, her mother and siblings seek refuge here from the abusive father, yet even though Rosemary Elizabeth loves the beautiful clean surroundings, the delicious abundant food, the spotless white garments and the kindly companions, she finds daily difficulties with the Shaker three Cs — confession, communality, and celibacy — as well as so many additional picayune and non-sensical rules. Sister Bess (even their names have been taken and replaced), is grateful, safe, and comfortable and she truly does try for total perfection according to Shaker beliefs, but Rosemary thinks more and more about how the best heroines aren’t perfect. She thinks how pride, selfishness, hypocrisy, prejudice, weakness, and more, make heroines more like real people. She comes to believe families are supposed to live as families, even if that life is far from perfect. She begins to rebel in small and large ways to define her own self and comes through her Shaker experience with wonderful balance. You will like this heroine, Rosemary Elizabeth, and you will like this book which encourages you to think and think and think, as Rosemary did, about how perfection is very complicated, and that maybe there are other roads leading to God and happiness. Beside the plot element, I very much enjoyed the author’s vivid description of the Pleasant Hill setting, of Shaker rooms, of foods and furniture, and I especially enjoyed reading of the various woods when Sister Bess was making Shaker brooms. A few pages of factual information in the Afterword about Shakers and Morgan’s Raiders is helpful to the reader, and I recommend Imperfections to 5th grade and older children who may enjoy strong heroines and historical fiction.

Posted by: Fran D.

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