Despite a huge body of work and lifetime's worth of correspondence she left behind, Emily Dickinson remains an enigma in many people's minds. Why was she so preoccupied with death? Why did she choose to not marry in an era when most women did so to the exclusion of all other pursuits? What drove her to write more than one thousand poems, yet never seek publication for her work? By immersing herself in Emily's poetry, prose, surroundings, and numerous biographies, Barbara Dana seeks to answer these questions in a first person, fictional narrative of Emily's life from age eleven to twenty-four.
A VOICE OF HER OWN: BECOMING EMILY DICKINSON portrays Emily as a vivid, social, intelligent child; spending days and nights with family and friends, tramping about the idyllic town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite numerous bouts of illness, anxiety attacks, depressions, and the frequent loss of loved ones, Emily always retained a passion the natural world, not to mention a fierce drive to improve both academically and as a poet.
It took a long time to read this novel, not because I didn't enjoy it; quite the opposite in fact, because A VOICE OF HER OWN became my daily treat of Godiva chocolates. Whenever I wanted a quiet moment to savor the beauty of nature, or revel in contemplation of the a slower-paced way of life, I'd pull out Barbara Dana's book and dip into the possibilities surrounding Emily Dickinson's formative years. Ms. Dana did a superb job capturing Emily's voice and spirit, making this novel a truly joyful read and definitely one for the keeper shelf.
Originally written for TeensReadToo.com
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