Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keturah and Lord Death

I wish I would have rediscovered young adult literature long before this class (and book club), I feel as if I need to really catch up! Every post I write on this forum I rant and rave about how awesome the book is and unfortunately, I'm going to do it again! I have been very impressed with everything I have read so far in this class, so bear with me while I get real excited about this book as well. 
"Keturah and Lord Death" was a phenomenal read. I will admit that I wasn't immediately intrigued (it took about 2 chapters for me to get really hooked) but once I was I read this bad boy in one sitting. It is a tale of "magic and love, of daring and death, and one to comfort your heart." (Leavitt, 9). Sixteen year old Keturah, lost in the forest, meets Lord Death and instead of being taken by him she captivates him with her charm and one of her stories. She tricks him into letting her live another day and promises that she will return to him the following night to continue her tale. Lord Death keeps threatening that Keteruh will die unless she finds her true love so she spends busy days with her two best friesnds trying to find her true love in the village and trying to outwit Lord Death another night. It is a captivating tale and vaguely reminiscent of "One Thousand and One Nights" where the wife tells tales every night (always unfinished) in order to save her life. Howverer as the story continues it becomes evident that Lord Death is in love with Keturah and wishes to take her as his bride. He bends to her will and even agrees to save her village from the plague. She tries vainly to find love in a villager named Ben, but then in a shocking conclusion realizes that her one true love is Lord Death. Instead of being a sad ending, it is a happy one for all that Keturah set out to do: see her friends wed, save the townsfolk from the plague, etc. she accomplished. 
Unlike many fantasy novels this one isn't too far over the top (magically speaking), the only "magical entity" is Lord Death and the tale is told in the form of a legend by villagers. According to Tunnell et al. this tale could probably fill the fantasy category of, "novelized traditional tale" because death is a character found in many legends, cultures, and traditions. 
Overall, I thought that narration of this tale really draws the reader in even though it is very simplistic, everyone has had experience with death and I believe that this tale helps add a dimension to a powerful and sad thing that comes for us all in the end. The author acknnowledges her young sister who dies of cystic fibrosis at the age of eleven and writes, "I realize what a long journey dying must be like for a child to make alone. I wish I could have walked with her a little way. This book is my way of doing so."
Leavitt, Martine. Keturah and Lord Death. Asheville, N.C.: Front Street, 2006. 
"One Thousand and One Nights ." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Thousand_and_One_Nights.>
Tunnell, Michael O. Children's literature, briefly. 5th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 

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