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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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The Heron's Wife: A Tale for Children?

Maddy's sister has turned a piece of family folklore--that the girls truly believed when they were children--into a children's book. Can you talk about the role this story has played in their lives? Can you talk about how the "love story" we are reading now is superimposed upon that early tale?
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johanna49
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Heron's Wife: A Tale for Children?

I am trying to figure this out. Maddie and Allie are the heron's wives. I believe that Allie is the Heron's wife. She is his true love. Paul is the Blue Heron. Maddie is the earthly "wife".
Also Maddie is not bad. She always thinks of herself as the second best. She definitely makes a stupid mistake with Paul. Also he was also culpable.
As Allie told Maddie when they were discussing courage, "You were the one who did as you pleased. You telephoned that woman that Dad lived with. I always did what I was supposed to do. Until it was too late."
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Kathy0515
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Re: The Heron's Wife: A Tale for Children?

I just finished The Third Angel and enjoyed it, although I feel like I probably missed some of the connections I was meant to draw. My take on Allie having published The Heron's Wife--and her success because of it--only underscored to Maddie that Allie was the chosen one, the true Heron's Wife, or at least Maddie's sense that Allie always felt entitled to that role. Maddie's actions seem born of her anger at her lot in life and her yearning to have been the one true love. I think she felt Allie stole their childhood story, and thus their connection to their mother, and wants to steal from Allie.
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Rachel-K
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Re: The Heron's Wife: A Tale for Children?

Hi Kathy,
 
There's a great mix of psychological and mythic stuff happening between the characters, isn't there? Following this heron through the book is one of my favorite pieces of the narrative--there seems to be so much desire and loss associated with the image.
 
And it is "their" childhood story, and you're right--Allie literally owns it now! I think I felt a bit jealous on Maddie's behalf--did you? Was this a betrayal on Allie's part?
 
In Maddie's mind, they have the roles of "good" sister and "bad" sister. Is this true in any way?
 
By the end of this story, I was totally turned around -- there seem to be so many conflicting levels of betrayal and loss within the story, and yet, the story ends at the beginning of a journey.
 
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Kathy0515
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Re: The Heron's Wife: A Tale for Children?

Yes, I was jealous for Maddie, and I think the book will resonate with anyone who has siblings who always seemed to have the better lot in life. (And isn't that how siblings usually feel?!?)

I do think Allie's writing the book was a betrayal. She took a part of Maddie's childhood (and probably Maddie's second-best feeling) and made it public. I don't think she warned Maddie if I remember correctly. Of course we find out Allie's life isn't as great as Maddie thought it was. And just like The Heron's Wife, the story ends at the beginning.
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johanna49
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Re: The Heron's Wife: A Tale for Children?

It was interesting that this novel started in 1999 and ended in 1952. Going backwards in time was something we do not usually get in novels. There are many times flashbacks or story arcs that take time in the past and then to go the present. But a whole novel that has three iinterwined stories going completely backwards.
Alice Hoffman did it in an excellent way.
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johanna49
Posts: 152
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: The Heron's Wife: A Tale for Children?

Also I reread The Heron's Wife. Jamie is most probably Paul's child. It is amazing what I picked up from rereading The Heron's Wife. Now on to rereading Lion's Park.
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