Apr 11 2015

Book Review #firstreads #NewToYouRC and Vocabulary Words of Missing Sisters by Gregory Maguire

Missing Sisters by Gregory Maguire
It’s an interesting read. There are strong references to the 1960s, which is when the book takes place. The book didn’t end as I suspected it would, which makes it intriguing. The characters felt real. There are scenes where the descriptions are very poetic. Excellent symmetry between the opening and closing scene.


According to HarperCollins, these are vocabulary words of 8-12 year olds:
(Definitions provided by Google search)

  • Chortled- laugh in a breathy, gleeful way; chuckle.
  • Matins- a service of morning prayer in various churches; the morning song of birds.
  • Breviary- a book containing the service for each day, to be recited by those in orders in the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Sidled- walk in a furtive, unobtrusive, or timid manner, especially sideways or obliquely.
  • Ebullient- cheerful and full of energy.
  • Mantilla- a lace or silk scarf worn by women over the hair and shoulders
  • Genuflected- lower one’s body briefly by bending one knee to the ground, typically in worship or as a sign of respect
  • Novenas- (in the Roman Catholic Church) a form of worship consisting of special prayers or services on nine successive days.
  • Harangue- a lengthy and aggressive speech./ lecture (someone) at length in an aggressive and critical manner.
  • Maudlin- self-pityingly or tearfully sentimental, often through drunkenness.


I mention this because I am often called out for using vocabulary beyond the comprehension of traditional adults. (To the point that I’m insecure about it now, and make a very conscious effort to write definitions instead of words, or check a thesaurus for a simpler version.) There were five words on this list that I did not know, but four of those seem to be used mainly by the Roman Catholic Church (I’m not Catholic). Mantilla was the other word, so there’s proof of my lack of fashion knowledge. While I do know the other five, I’m not sure that most eight to twelve year old children would know or use them. In order to use a “difficult” word, the definition must be easy to determine from the sentence. I am not sure that this was the case with these words. (I’m also not sure how many eight to twelve year old children today, or in 1994 when this was published, know what a Maidenform bra and Geritol are, but those were possibly used to flesh out the 60’s setting.)

Really, that’s just something that… “made my mind itch.” I’ve still given the book 4 out of 5 stars. (However, I would not buy this book for any of the eight to twelve year old children in my life, such as nieces and nephews, because I do not feel that they are interested in the 1960’s enough to care for this book. Also, I’d hate for one of them to believe they could take a taxi cab in America for $5 and actually get to another town. I’m sure it was true back then, but running away of sorts would cost far more today. Alice is lucky to be alive, though perhaps the point was that she had a religious guardian, or angel, protecting her through some dangerous escapades.)


    • Gulara on April 12, 2015 at 3:33 AM

    I love how thoughtful this review is. I like the reflection on the appropriate use of words and the book’s audience, in particular. Thank you
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    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it.

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