Sunday, January 13, 2008

Yet another book about Maine!

Happy New Year everybody!

While looking around for a Monhegan Island guide in my library's card catalog I saw this book, A Year on Monhegan Island by Julia Dean, and requested it. It had to go through inter-library loan and took a few months to arrive. I read it in about five minutes, and that included gazing at the photos. Not sure why, the writing was good and the photos too, but the book seemed unsatisfactory somehow. I finished and thought "Yeah, so...?" It is junior non-fiction, aimed at kids, but I can't imagine any kids finding this book very interesting. Seems like the kind of souvenir book a Monhegan-vacationing Grandparent might buy for a grandchild...more of a gesture than a real treat.

However, I don't mean to say it was awful, far from it. The idea of it was good, and oh how I'd love to be commissioned do my own version! If any of you own this book, or get it somehow, let me know what you think. Maybe I was in a bad mood when I read it...or my long wait had built up hopes of something rarer and finer than reality.


AT said...

NB, I don't know if this relates, but I have several books on Mount Desert Island and each one seems to tell only a piece of the story. None really get at the essence of my personal experience there. . .which I suppose might seem lacking to someone else.

I'm reminded of Wyeth's Maine paintings. Strangely, they speak to me emotionally, even though in terms of color they do not describe the Maine that I know. The monochromatic colors of his work seem more suited to Pennsylvania in the winter than Maine in summer.

Nancy Bea Miller said...

Yes, exactly. This book did not capture the real "essence" of Monhegan for me...I looked in vain for even a fleeting glimpse of something like my personal experience. But the author/photographer obviously had a much different experience. Probably a true-er one, since it was over the course of a year, but still.

I agree with you about Andrew Wyeth's color too. Much more Pennsylvania than Maine. I do like the Maine paintings but don't find them nearly as compelling and convincing as the Pennsylvania ones. Now N.C. Wyeth...he could paint Maine like nobody's business!