Title: The Headless Cupid
Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Snyder's award-winning book is about many things, but mostly it's about the joining of two families and the inherent obstacles people face in that situation, especially when adolescent children are involved. David is the oldest of the four Stanley children, largely responsible for his younger siblings since the death of their mother. Dad has just married Molly and with her comes Amanda, a daughter just a year older than David. As if having a new older sister weren't odd enough in itself, Amanda believes she's a witch and is eager to initiate the Stanley kids.
The new family's new home, The Westerley House, is quite a character itself. It's old, rundown and quite probably haunted. Amanda and David learn of nineteenth century reports of a poltergeist and - wouldn't you know it? - mysterious things start happening around the house soon afterward. Central to the story - and its title - is the staircase with its beautiful, hand-carved bannisters supported at the ends by cupids. One of the cherubs, of course, is missing its noggin.
The real treat of The Headless Cupid is Blair, David's younger brother, four years old. Blair is a quieter, more aloof version of A Wrinkle in Time's Charles Wallace. Like CW, Blair is far better in tune with the mysterious forces of the universe than even David fully appreciates until the very end.
Not all children's books hold up for adult readers but The Headless Cupid is just as much fun as I remembered it. Life experience, especially an appreciation for the challenges of raising a family, adds a great deal to the reading. The story is sweet, spooky and occasionally very funny, indeed.
Please join us and share your own review of your best read from the past month. This month's link list is below. I'll keep it open until the end of the day. I'll post September's tomorrow. Meetings are the last Friday of each month. Next gathering is September 26th.