Friday, January 4, 2013

A Slew of Maureen Johnson Post Three: The Last Little Blue Envelope

I have to admit, it was a little difficult for me to write my post on Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes without my Last Little Blue Envelope feelings getting in the way.

Anyway, I actually started reading this one on the plane on my way back to Boston. I was really excited to pick it up and I wasn't disappointed.

Ginny is as practical-yet-adventurous as always. She gets the e-mail from Oliver about the last letter and goes back to London. Even though Ginny is often uneasy about the things that they do to get her aunt's last piece of art it's a wonder in Johnson's writing that there's something about her that's also incredibly at ease while she's abroad. In that way the end of the book came very naturally. Even as the reader, I could tell that London is where Ginny belongs.

Admittedly, I was a little thrown by the Keith thing. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to be easy between them, there'd be no conflict in that. But I was a bit thrown by her cowardice involving the whole thing. And I absolutely love how much Ginny dwells on Keith. It was total asshattery on Keith's part and no one would be able to just forget that and move on right off the bat. That hurts and you want to blame everyone that you can. I think Maureen Johnson handled this aspect so well. She does so much in the story to literally and figuratively seclude Ginny.

There were still moments where Keith made me laugh but overall I was pretty pissed at him the entire time. And I tried to like Ellis, I really did but something about her, when compared to Ginny, felt really childish. I think it made me mad that he so blatantly still had feelings for Ginny while simultaneously driving around Europe with Ellis in tow and shoving Ginny in the back with Oliver.

I wasn't sure what to think of Oliver right off the bat. I mean, we didn't get much from him in the e-mail. Then we met him and all I could think was 'Oh no. Oh, no no no. You're Ginny's new guy?' I knew that was coming, it's not really a secret because in books like this it's all about getting there. But Johnson really perfected making her readers feel for him without him having to do much. she does this by setting him in stark contrast with Keith and it works beautifully. I was already mad at Keith and all of his Oliver bullying just made me angry. I knew it came from a decent place but, like Ginny, I was never okay with it.

Ginny's relationship with Oliver progresses slowly and seems to take a sudden turn that in retrospect isn't all that sudden. It's very subtle and comes a lot from the two of them being so secluded all of the time. Plus, he has the same sort of practicality and calmness that Ginny has but he also has a desperation that Ginny doesn't. He understands her, like knowing that she needed to climb the last hill on her own. I think a lot of that led to their kiss in front of the church. But it was easy, since the shift in the relationship is so subtle, for Oliver to dismiss it purely as a way of making Keith jealous.

I love the nature of the piece of artwork in this one. It's so wide-spread and just beautiful. Not to mention I was so impressed with how Johnson managed to make the one letter last the whole book. It worked and the end of it, on the hill, was heartbreaking. In some ways I think this was more effective than all of the others. But I prefer to see them all together.

I know I talked a lot about the relationships this post but I think that is what drove the plot a lot for this one. How everyone interacted and how it made them move and make decisions.

The more I think about this book the more I love it.

So, overall The Last Little Blue Envelope gets a rating of: Beyond Epic.

This and it's predecessor make me want to hop on a plane and explore the world. And the underhanded way this book gets my emotions is so impressive. I love it. Plus, I got more  Richard, who I still love.

What did you ducks think of these books? Love them?

Well, now I can start Shadow and Bone. I'm pretty excited about it.

Until next time,


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