Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Summer of Permanent Wants by Jamieson Findlay

The Summer of Permanent Wants
by Jamieson Findlay
Doubleday Canada (Random House)
ISBN: 978-0-385-66928-3
Suggested Ages:  8-13
Buy From Indigo

Description: Emmeline is an 11-year-old who contends with a special problem: after a long sickness she can no longer speak. Her illness left her unable to give words to her thoughts, and she can only use the occasional snatches of sign language. Closed off from her friends and the world of kids her age, Emmeline is excited to spend a couple of months with her bohemian grandmother and her newest project: starting a floating bookshop that will sail from port to port all summer long. From the books and people they encounter aboard Permanent Wants, Emmeline travels to places, real and imaginary, that astonish and bedazzle her in turns. From the discovery of a map of a now unheard-of land, to a town whose citizens are no longer able to make music, to the revelation of an island filled with serpents and snakes, Emmeline's adventures show her wonders that help her unlock her own self.A literary adventure story with a classic feel, The Summer of Permanent Wants will delight and engage middle-grade readers.

The Good Stuff
  • Canadian setting
  • Stories are filled with wonderful quirky interesting characters
  • Sort of an old fashioned simple tale with a modern spin, absolutely beautifully written
  • Imaginative, whimsical and unusual
  • Honest and heartbreaking at times, you can understand how frustrating things must be for Emmeline
  • Story is filled with hope, compassion and acceptance of all sorts of people - nicely done and not done in a goody two shoes sort of way
  • A perfect book for taking camping or to the cottage -- or on a boat maybe : )
  • Honest real relationships between Emmeline and her family and friends
  • Would love to have taken Emmeline's journey of selling books along the Rideau - now that is my idea of a fun job
  • There is a cat who hates water on the floating bookstore -- how can you not love that
 The Not so Good Stuff
  • The reluctant reader will struggle with this, more suited for sophisticated middle school readers & adults
  • A little hard to get into at first, had to force myself at first -- it does pick up though, so give it a shot
  • Think younger readers might have a hard time figuring out who is actually telling the story and become frustrated and confused
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"It was also Picardy Bob who had painted the name Permanent Wants on the bow and stern, along with the words, "The Floating Bookstore."  He had a very careful hand, being a forger."

"Em was tempted to give a good blast of the whistle right in the library -- the old librarian moved so slowly."

"Lafcadio gave her a reproachful look as she hauled herself, dripping, up the ladder.
"You should really learn to like the water, Lafcadio," said Gran, grabbing a towel. "You're a shipboard cat now."

Who should/shouldn't read
  • Would be a wonderful story for a classroom discussion
  • More suitable for the more imaginative sophisticated reader, as much would be lost on the reluctant reader. The story is very slow paced and may frustrate those who are not avid readers
  • Adults will enjoy
  • Suited for both male and female readers

3.75 Dewey's

I received this from Doubleday Canada in exchange for an honest review


  1. I have this to review too... good to see such a wonderful review! I'm looking forward to it.

  2. Its just a nice sweet read, it be a little slow at first so give it a chance