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Missing Sisters (1994)

Missing Sisters (1994)

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3.27 of 5 Votes: 4
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0689505906 (ISBN13: 9780689505904)
margaret k. mcelderry books

About book Missing Sisters (1994)

In an orphanage in upstate NY, twelve-year-old Alice lives her life among the stern nuns that share her home. She's not like the rest of the little girls, she can't hear very well, and she has a speech impediment that makes it hard for her to talk. Sister Vincent de Paul befriends Alice and becomes her closest friend, patiently listening to her every word, trading secrets in the kitchen. Sister Vincent de Paul is a bit of a misfit herself, having a deformed foot that hinders her walking, but this just solidifies their friendship. One day though, in a terrible accident, Sister Vincent de Paul is badly burned and whisked away. Feelings of isolation and fear fill Alice ,as she worries if the Sister has died. No one seems to want to talk to her about it. And in the meantime, Alice discovers that she may have a twin sister! All this confusion in Alice's life makes it so hard for her to figure out her place in the world- something that Sister Vincent de Paul would have made so much easier. Thus starts Alice's adventure to find her place in the grand scheme of things, and to find what may be her twin sister. The novel is set in the 1960's, written with a certain amount of innocence still present in those times. There's no drugs, sex or rock & roll. Alice deals with the angst of being a teenage girl, jealousy, questions of faith (she does live in an orphanage run by Nuns), and the meaning of friendship. She longs for a family of her own and especially a mother. A sweet story that touched my heart as Alice tries to do the right things - often times going about it in the wrong way. She's sweet, smart and spunky. She doesn't let her handicaps hold her back, and in the end we see just how normal she is. And speaking of endings... I found the ending to be a bit unsatisfying. I cried, but wanted more from it as the lights dimmed and the credits rolled... You'll see what I mean, because even though I wanted more from the ending I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it! Written as a YA novel, us 'older' girls can enjoy it too!

I have read a number of Maguire books, and was terribly excited about this one. A pair of long lost sisters rediscovers each's a great start to a story. I was a little disappointed when I got it in the mail and saw how small it was. The beginning has a sense of magic about it, Alice watching the storm fall on two sides of the kitchen while the sister cooks...but then it goes down hill from there. Every time it starts to lead up to something exciting, it crashes you back down into this anticlimactic wasteland. It occurred to me after reading through to the unfulfilling ending, that Maguire has a way of stripping the fantasy out of a fantasy story. You're led up to something magical just to be choked short of getting there, crashed into a disappointing ho hum mediocrity. He leads you nowhere, and you go around in circles wondering where the good part of your story went. I was terribly disappointed with this book and would not recommend it. It ends on more uncertain terms than it began, and Sister Vincent de Paul's lecture to Alice about appreciating what's in front of her seems almost like a defense of the novel itself. That whole spiel just made me frustrated. All I could think was "Alice has to live with what she can get...but you could've written her a better story." There are little promises and hints of something better scattered about the narrative, but you just never get's like a half finished thought. The whole novel seemed underdeveloped, like he got tired of the story and just gave up on it, and then tried to slip in a sideways moral as an excuse for his ineffective storytelling.

Do You like book Missing Sisters (1994)?

This is a very special little gem of a book. I thought I knew Gregory Maguire, the man who made me root for the Wicked Witch of the West and understand the stepsisters some called ugly. But until now I have never read his children's/YA fiction, and "Missing Sisters" is something unique. Maguire's voice here reminds you of his adult novels, but there are passages here you feel could be written by a completely different author. The directness Maguire gives here, with his characters of orphans and the nuns who take care of them, is completely nuanced and illustrates different stages of adolescence beautifully. There is much to be learned from this story, for adults and children, I would imagine. About growing up and going on and dealing, about family, about friendships. Read this one!
—Bryan Ball

This is a short story about two young “orphans”, Miami and Alice, one has been adopted and one is living at a Catholic orphanage. Indirectly they discover their existence. It is just a simple story with no real resolve or conclusion at the end. It leaves the reader wondering why Maguire ended the book abruptly or if he wanted the reader to come to their own conclusions. At a deeper level one could argue whether “nurture vs. nature” determines ones personality and character more. It is apparent the contrary environment each has been raised in has affected their personalities. Within their contrary characters/attitudes there is a strong argument that the characters are a particular way due to their environment and not so much genetics. It is a simple read, yet somewhat entertaining.

This book is about two young girls in 1960’s New York. Alice has a hearing loss and a speech impediment, and she lives in a Catholic home for orphans. Miami has been adopted into a crowded but happy home. Neither of them know about the other, and this book is about them finding each other again.Oh, man. My faith in YA lit and Gregory Maguire are equally restored. I’ve found the first recently rather dull, and the second frustratingly unwilling to pull his endings through. This is a book for young readers in which the adults are lively and funny and compassionate, doing their best with the world as it is. It’s a book about faith that didn’t make me wince – faith in the literal way of children, and the resigned but sincere way of adults. It’s a book about miracles, of all things, and I liked it.Mostly, I think, it’s because the book purposely contravenes standard YA lit tropes. The story does not go at all the way you think it will when Alice and Miami find each other. There’s no sudden and unexpected construction of a traditional family, no matter what flashy tricks the girls try with news reporters. The story is about how happiness doesn’t take the big miracle, the flash and the bang and the wild chance, it just takes getting up in the morning. It’s about how life doesn’t have to be like a young adult novel to still be pretty good.Unrelatedly, Maguire really does have a delicate touch with his marginalized protagonists. He writes about people who have fallen between the cracks, who are marked, and he likes to have it written on the body through disability (here) or green skin (a metaphor which flickers between race and disability in Wicked) or beauty itself (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister). He does this with grace and grittiness, so the marks are catalyst and reaction and product all at once. Which makes them very real.

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