Author: Eva Ibbotson
Title: Journey to the River Sea
Content: Sent in 1910 to live with distant relatives who own a rubber plantation along the Amazon River, English orphan Maia is excited. She believes she is in for brightly colored macaws, enormous butterflies, and "curtains of sweetly scented orchids trailing from the trees." Her British classmates warn her of man-eating alligators and wild, murderous Indians. Unfortunately, no one cautions Maia about her nasty, xenophobic cousins, who douse the house in bug spray and forbid her from venturing beyond their coiffed compound. Maia, however, is resourceful enough to find herself smack in the middle of more excitement than she ever imagined, from a mysterious "Indian" with an inheritance, to an itinerant actor dreading his impending adolescence, to a remarkable journey down the Amazon in search of the legendary giant sloth.
My opinion: Well, let's talk again about a classic novel. I always wrote about one book of Eva Ibbotsons and this one is very different, but for me it does have some similarities: The feeling, when I'm reading those books.
Maia, a young girl, is sensitive , but strong in the same time. I really like her, because she is able to communicate and to reach the people. For me the most intersting part about her journey are all the times when she meets people- they always show interesting and important faces of the culture. Anyways, Maia is a lovely charactere, very easy to identify with and gentle, trusting, intelligent and mature beyond her years. She is the protagonist, the connection between all the parts and a "real life person". You never feel like she's invented. but like she is a person you could know yourself. Miss Minton is one of the other main characteres: a stern but caring governess with her hat-pin shaped like a Viking spear, her trunk full of books and a few secrets hidden up her sleeves. She is clever, adorable and again very real. Also, she is fun to read about, because of her kind of unusual behavoiur and attitude, that makes life probabaly harder, but makes it possible to feel like you're acting morally right. There are many other great written characteres: Clovis, the young, homesick actor, Beatrice and Gwendolyn, the very fun to read villains, their dad, with his "weird eyes" (not gonna tell you more about it), Olga, Sergei.... a lot of great persons, but there is one more I want to mention: Finn. I really recommend you to read this book, because if you didn't you missed meeting Finn. He is amazing and I immediately fell in love with him. I'm not gonna tell you what he is doing in the novel, but just you know: He's great!!
It's a children nocel, I know, BUT, it is great to read even if you're older - I personally love it and still read it some times a year. Because it is a children book, I got it many years ago, so I do not have it in english, but I can tell you, that the writing style is great in german and normally directly means the english style is even better. The story has an old fashioned feel to it, in the best sense. A missing inheritance, switched identities and the setting of the Amazon rain forest intertwine as Maia and her friends search for home.
The setting of the Amazon rain forest is amazingly described. I never was there, but scince I first read the book, I want to visit it. This novel actually inspired me to do my volunteering year in south america. The region has to be amazing - at least the way Eva Ibbotson describes it. The setting is as good as the values that are tranported. Maia and Miss Minton soon discover an exotic world bursting with new experiences beyond their imagination. More importantly, they learn one of life's hardest lessons--to conquer their fears and embrace the unknown. And along the way they learn about tolerance, acceptance and trust.
All in all: It's unputdownable, packed with old-fashioned story-telling virtues from a great plot to characters you'd love to know. READ IT!