Title: Away From Home
Author: Arleta Richardson
Series: Grandma’s Attic, book 5
Major Themes: School
Synopsis: Mabel and Sarah Jane are now 16 and attending high school away from home.
Away From Home, formerly titled Sixteen and Away From Home, continues the story begun in the first four Grandma’s Attic books, which are the most well-known of the series. Mabel, who was the author’s grandmother in real life, and her life-long best friend Sarah Jane, have finished the schooling they can get in the local one-room school and are off to high school in a bigger town an hour away by train. Mabel’s mother gives her a journal in which to record the most important events of her life. When Mabel wonders out loud how she is to know what events are important, Sarah Jane has the answer: “When you are 16, everything is momentous!”
As always, Mabel and Sarah Jane find themselves in frequent scrapes. Will they ever learn to think ahead about possible consequences? The honey they tried to thaw for Lettie, the housekeeper, is a perfect example of that! As they have throughout school, Mabel and Warren Carter compete for the top grades in the class. Mabel struggles, as she has for many years already, to remember that her motive for getting good grades must not be merely to outdo Warren. Mabel also has a new challenge this year, when she meets a girl in her class who seems to hate her and do everything possible to upset Mabel and ruin her year. When the most popular boy in school begins escorting Mabel to social functions, Clarice becomes simply unbearable. Will Mabel be able to continue acting the Christian part toward Clarice?
As we were reading this story, I was quite impressed with the discussions and example of loving your enemies, doing good to those who hate you, and praying for them. Obviously, Mabel’s parents had done a superb job of imparting their faith to her. Watch Mabel as she learns more all the time about doing right even when it is most difficult.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12