by Catherine Anderson

January 1996
ISBN: 0-380-77961-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Reading any book by Catherine Anderson normally guarantees an enjoyable reading experience. This book definitely falls into that category, with Annie's Song heading the list as my new favorite by her. She surprises me with a variety of subjects, but this story contains a nearly unique plot with an interesting twist. The prologue opens with man's selfish cruelty and the rape of Annie. After this, how could the book be any good? Mrs. Anderson accomplishes this goal with an abundance of style.

Mrs. Anderson created an intelligent woman with an innocence, vulnerability and naiveté that included a beautiful soul. I felt joy and wonder as I experienced sensations anew through Annie's eyes; this incredible book is a tribute to Mrs. Anderson's ability to conceptualize scene upon scene more vividly than any movie director could have done.

Considering that the storyline placed Annie in Oregon in the 1890's, her parents' behavior, deplorable though it is, toward Annie is somewhat understandable. They believed she was mentally disabled instead of being almost totally deaf, a condition that a fever caused when she was young. And yet, their cruelty to Annie still raises my ire.

In spite of everything that happened to her, Annie's deafness and limited knowledge produce empathetic feelings for her, and I wasn't encouraged to sympathize with her, but to enjoy her sense of exploration as she investigated the new situation which she had been forced into living. Her perceptions of the world had remained extremely limited until her marriage, and still with each new event the wonderment of life sprung to the forefront. Annie's hysterically funny view of life's events still has me chuckling. Never before has a book caused me to laugh out loud so many times all the while empathizing so closely with one character.

Too many times to recount I was awed by Mrs. Anderson's unique viewpoint and thought process which she endowed into Annie's character. At times I was literally forced to lay the book down for a time while I controlled my laughter - - not able to resume reading until I was able to stop the tears from flowing, only to begin laughing anew as I completed reading the extraordinarily descriptive and unique scene. Images of Annie's dancing in the attic and scenes with her mice, along with my favorite scene, Annie's search for an egg in her bed will never stop causing me to giggle. Annie's Song became an instant keeper and will long remain in a prominent place on my bookshelf.

Reviewed in August 2001 by Cyndi.

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