Destiny, Rewritten
Destiny Rewritten
Kathryn Fitzmaurice
ISBN 9780061625015
Katherine Tegen/ HarperCollins, 2013.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: emily-dickinson family friendship kathryn-fitzmaurice poetry rewritten writing

Destiny, Rewritten
by Kathryn Fitzmaurice

In Kathryn Fitzmaurice's (The Year the Swallows Came Early) latest moving novel, 11-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis grapples with her identity and her passions.

Emily's mother named her for Emily Dickinson in hopes she'd become a poet, but Emily prefers romance novels to poetry. She's read almost half of Danielle Steel's books and copies down the happy endings of each. Fitzmaurice portrays a strong bond between mother and daughter, and chronicles the tension that develops between them over her mother's aspirations for Emily versus what Emily wants for herself, and her growing resentment of her mother's caginess about the identity of Emily's father. Rather than keeping a photo album for Emily, her mother records each milestone of the girl's life in the margins of a first edition of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson--"the road map of your life," she calls it. Just after Emily learns that her father's name is also recorded in the margins, the heroine inadvertently places the poetry book on top of some donation boxes. For the balance of the novel, she must search her town for the book--and her father's identity.

Emily grapples with whether destiny truly does rule her life, or whether she has the power to influence her own future. Her quest for the book and her attempts to make an impact on her future come together into a moving climax. Emily comes to realize that sometimes the answer you needed was right there all the time.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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