I'm the kind of girl who looks for connections: gossamer threads joining seemingly random parts of my life. So when I curled up Sunday night to read a book, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic hit a home run for me.
It’s the story of ten year old Persimmony who starts out daydreaming of daring deeds when her sister, Prunella (don’t ya just love those names,) interrupts her, causing Persimmony to throw a broom, break a pot and eventually save her home, the Island at the Center of Everything. This delightful tale of what happens in between broom throwing and island saving involves a spoiled kingling, a starfish, a giant, an underground city, poison tongue tortoises, a little man who has shrunk from worry and pepper, lots and lots of pepper. As in most quests the journey reveals to our heroine secrets from her past and missed truths from her present. But you could probably figure most of this out from a good Amazon review. Why did I like it?
Good question. I’m so glad you asked. Well first of all I thought it was a rollicking good tale. Very fast moving (I read it in one night) and not too heavy. I also liked the way Jennifer Trafton plays with words like she is writing with alphabet soup; for example “This was distressinglydismallydolorouslydisastrouslycalamitouslyagonozinglylamentablyirredeemablyinsupportablynightmarishly bad.” And Mount Majestic is illustrated! When’s the last time you saw a new children’s novel illustrated on the inside and not just on the cover or a few small pictures on the chapter headings? I miss interior illustrations and Brett Helquist’s are charming. But mainly, I think it was those gossamer threads.
Sunday, my pastor spoke on the giants of fear, negativity and doubt. The sermon was such a strong exhortation to me that I definitely had giants on the brain. So reading a fairytale with a giant in it just seemed right. And then there was this scene. In the middle of destruction, Persimmony picks up a broom.
As she squished and slid and swung and swept, Persimmony had two thoughts.
The first thought was this: If she had swept the cottage floor as Prunella had told her to, she wouldn’t be sweeping up this mess now.
And the second thought was this: If she had swept the floor to begin with, she would never have broken the Giving Pot. And if she hadn’t broken the Giving Pot, she would never have lost her hat in the woods. And if she hadn’t lost her hat, she would not have heard the Leafeaters’ plans. And if she had not heard their plans, no one would have gone to stop them. And if no one had gone to stop them, the giant would have woken up. Yet she was surrounded by people-unstomped, unsmashed, uncrushed, unbroken, unruined-miraculously, wonderfully, whole.
…”What is she doing?” murmured someone in the crowd.
“No, she’s dancing.”The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, pp 319 - 320
Lately much of my time has been spent evaluating my perspective and here in the middle of a fairy tale sits this, waiting for me to respond. Oh, to stand in the midst of ruins, pick up a broom, see how all of the choices, mistakes and brave deeds come together to make a bad situation so much better, good even and then to dance. That is redemption.
wanting a heart that dances,