When I volunteered to talk about a book for the month of August (yes, I know it is almost NOT August anymore) I thought I would be talking about a new book. I have been trying to keep up with the new books that come through “my” branch so I really thought one of them would be the topic of my post. Well, I have been wrong before and am wrong once again. I made it a personal goal to read all the Newberys before the end of 2013 and it is one of them which has caught my attention more than any other book I’ve read this year.
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli is, in my humble opinion, absolutely wonderful. It is set in the fourteenth century (not usually one of my favorite periods) and is about the 10 year old son of a knight. As the son of a nobleman Robin was to be “sent away from his mother and father to live in the household of another knight, where he would learn all the ways of knighthood.” Robin has known all his life this was the way it would be, but just days before this was to happen Robin becomes ill and loses the use of his legs. The book tells of Robin’s search for a different “door in the wall” through which he can serve his king. And it is this search for a different “door in the wall” that most caught my attention. As a ranch raised kid I was taught that when you are thrown from your horse, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the saddle. That is exactly what Robin did. He knew he couldn’t be a knight without the use of his legs so he began experimenting with different avocations. He tried his hand at carving. He made a harp and planned to learn to play it and of course he was learning to read and write. When the Welsh began storming the castle it was Robin who went for help even though he now used crutches. By this time he had formed the attitude of why not try because “anyone can NOT do it”.