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The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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08/13/2008 Archived Entry: "Book review: My One Hundred Adventures"

My One Hundred Adventures
Written by Polly Horvath
Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, imprint of Random House Children's Books
ISBN-10:  0375845828
ISBN-13:  9780375845826

Review by Jilly Gee

Jane Fielding is content, living in the beach house with just her three siblings and her mother; or at least, she was content before she turned twelve and realized she could pray for things in church.  Feeling a strong desire for something different this summer from their normal beach activities, she prays for adventures, one hundred of them.

Although there aren't a hundred of them, she is delivered many exciting adventures that summer.  Or rather, many exciting misadventures.  Jane goes on the hot air balloon ride she so desperately wants, though the balloon is a hijacked one from which she was forced to toss bibles.  She helps Nellie Phipps look for a transparent portal to the future, though the portal is really just part of a hoax by a fortune teller.  Surrounded by adults who fail to see the simplest of logic that this child can, adults who seem largely incompetent by comparison, Jane's optimism and trust is stretched to the limit, almost causing her to lose the innocence and charm that she started the summer with.  Still, she manages to dig out a positive thought, even when it seems everything she has known and loved is crumbling.  She even thinks in dismay about the rest of the adventures that have not yet come, despite the fact that the ones she has had so far have brought her nothing but trouble.

Taking place during the freedom of summer, uninhibited by social structures such as school, on the shore relatively far away from town, the atmosphere has a surreal feeling to it.  Jane may be twelve years old, but the voice she speaks to readers with is nothing like one.  Perhaps she inherited the poetic talents of her mother or perhaps these are really the thoughts of an older Jane, looking back.  Whatever the case may be, Jane's words, the fantastical imagery she uses to describe her reality, are beautiful, evoking in readers' imaginations the dreamy haze with which to view her world through.

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