Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"Gone-Away Lake" by Elizabeth Enright

I love this book.  I loved it as a kid, and I love it now.

I read Gone-Away Lake over and over as a pre-teen, and I vaguely could remember now what it was about -- some kids who find an abandoned village -- but I really didn't recall the particulars.  My son found this on my shelves a couple of years ago and fell in love with it too, and he's nearly destroyed my copy with his love.  But neither of my daughters wanted to read it on their own.

When we got home from vacation, I decided this would be the next book I'd read out loud to my kids because it's such a good summer story.  July and August were frenetic and hectic, so it took me two whole months to read it aloud to them.  But we finished it just at the beginning of September, which was perfect timing because the last couple chapters take place at the beginning of September too.  And we all loved it so much, I'm going to read the sequel to them next week.

Yes, there's a sequel!!!  I was entirely unaware of that fact until a year or so ago when we spotted it at the used bookstore.  I haven't read it yet, but I'm excited.

I really didn't remember a ton of this book while I read it, which surprised me.  Usually books that I read multiple times as a kid still feel very familiar.  And certain scenes did come back to me as I read, but not the book as a whole.  However, I realized while reading it that this book is a HUGE part of why I am somewhat obsessed with abandoned places.  And why I generally find abandoned buildings beautiful and inspiring, not creepy.  I do vividly recall wishing that there was an abandoned house somewhere near where I lived that was sound enough still for me to clean up and take over as my own clubhouse like Portia and Julian get to do in this book.  I still wish that.  I love old, neglected houses in a "let me rescue it and give it love" sort of way, and I see now that this book certainly fed into that, though I can't tell if it caused that interest.

Anyway, this book is about two cousins, Portia and Julian, who go tramping around in the woods and stumble on an abandoned cluster of summer homes.  But they're not entirely abandoned -- two delightful elderly people, brother and sister, still live there.  Julian and Portia befriend them, and they have a jolly summer together.  I love it.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  It's clean and wholesome.  There's a tense chapter where someone gets stuck in quicksand that might be hard on kids under 6.


This is my 5th book read and reviewed for the Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge and my 20th for my second go-round with the Classics Club.  (Do I count this book as a classic?  Yes, I do!  It was written in 1957 and should be read by every child.  It's a classic.  So there.)

12 comments:

  1. I vaguely remember reading this as a child but both my kids loved it and the sequel. My husband is fascinated by old, abandoned buildings. He is always looking up photos of them online and watching Youtube tours of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, I own several books about abandoned places and ghost towns and such, and love looking at photos online too. They fascinate me!

      Delete
  2. I would have loved this as a kid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Skye, you might love it even now. It's very fun and lighthearted and satisfying.

      Delete
  3. Oh my goodness I am so glad that someone else has mentioned this book because I have loved it for years! Its such a lovely book. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kendra, yay! I kind of thought this was a little-known book these days, so I love how many people like you are popping up saying you love it too. It's soooooo wonderful.

      Delete
  4. I love this book!!!! The story is so entertaining and the characters charming. The sequel is just as good too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, I'm glad to hear the sequel is good too! I mean, my son thinks it is, but he's 10...

      Delete
  5. There were at least 2 or 3 books I liked when I was a kid which involved spooky houses and nefarious evildoers, usually published by Scholastic. My favorite was one where an 18th-century ghost helps kids stop a wicked land developer from taking away their old family mansion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. John Smith, interesting! These houses definitely aren't spooky, though. But I do like the sound of that book you describe. Any idea what it was called? It's not Blackbeard's Ghost, by any chance? I remember reading a book called that long ago.

      Delete
  6. I adore both of these books, have paperback and 1st editions of each of them. Now I'm redecorating a room in my house and am searching for collections to reflect the books. Haunting antiques and collectible shops because I'm Gone Away obsessed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Georgi, WOW! First editions? That's amazing! I have dorky '80s covers on mine. That's such a great idea for decorating a room! Have you found a suit of armor yet?

      Delete

What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)