Tuesday, May 01, 2018
If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson is a story of young love. Ellie and Jeremiah literally bump into each other in the hall of their Manhattan school, knocking her books to the ground. There's an immediate attraction between them but neither knows the other and it takes time before they manage to connect. And, when they do, and they become a couple, they experience the expected: stares, questions, surprise. What is a white, Jewish girl doing with a black boy with dreadlocks? It doesn't matter. They are smitten and spend every moment they can together. And, then tragedy strikes.
I knew If You Come Softly is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet because of the preface to this 20th Anniversary edition by the author, but somehow I got so caught up in the love story that I completely forgot and was caught a little off-guard when I got to the tragic part. Tragedy is not the ending, though, and I absolutely loved the ending. It's a warm, contented ending, if not a happy one.
Highly recommended - I can see why this bittersweet tale of love and loss has been reissued. It took a while for me to warm to the story because, even though it's a "love at first sight" tale, it takes some time before the two get together. It's kind of a slow burn sort of story but a gentle one. The relationship between Ellie (short for Elisha) and Jeremiah (who goes by Miah) is all the more lovely and sweet and believable because of the pacing.
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