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Other Bells for Us to Ring [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert Cormier
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Nov 2000
Eleven-year-old Darcy hasn't lived in any one place long enough to have a best friend--until her family settles in Frenchtown and she meets Kathleen Mary O'Hara. Darcy is spellbound by Kathleen Mary's vivid tales of Catholicism. She shows Darcy a world beyond Frenchtown: a world of daring games and secrets, of sins and miracles. With Darcy's father off fighting the war somewhere in Europe, Kathleen Mary couldn't have come into her life at a better time.
Then, just as suddenly as they appeared, Kathleen Mary and her family disappear. While Darcy waits to hear from her, she learns that her father is missing in action. Christmas is coming, and Darcy is unsure about the power of God's love. Will the miracle she hopes for really happen?

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf Library; Reprint edition (Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044022862X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440228622
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 9.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,442,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The story begins during the Second World War when Darcy, a young girl of eleven, moves with her parents to a new town in Canada. Darcy is a very shy and quiet girl who confides in her Shirley Temple doll. At first, after moving house, Darcy is very lonely until when in town, she is approached by another girl, Kathleen Mary, who introduces herself. Although the two girls are very different from each other they become good friends and have many adventures together. During this time Darcy's father joins the army and leaves for Europe.
Just when Darcy is beginning to discover how exciting life can be Kathleen Mary's family leave town. Darcy has to cope with many set backs, especially when soon afterwards her father is reported missing in action. During these difficult times Darcy discovers a lot about religion, culture and happiness. Although Darcy herself is a Protestant, attending a Unitarian church, her friend, Kathleen Mary, introduces her to many of the aspects of the Catholic faith. This knowledge is called upon when Darcy is faced by very difficult circumstances.
Although the story is very convincing I personally did not enjoy it since the story line does not appeal to me; I prefer to read adventure based fiction and stories about nature. To me the book was lacking in interest up until the last chapter when Darcy is given some unexpected news. I can recommend the book to others who enjoy similar story lines set during the war years. The author has put in a lot of effort to make the characters appear true to life and it is not difficult to imagine such events having taken place. All the characters are well described and their individual feelings come over well. At every stage both girls deal with their own particular problems in an appropriate way. It is only on the last few pages that the significance of the bells in the title of the book becomes apparent.
By Bridget Fleming (Age 11)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only the fourth book that ever made me cry. 30 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am not religious and I'd rather stay away from religion. When I read the back of 'Other Bells for Us to Ring' I thought: oh know, a sappy religious novel. But I read it anyway, because I trusted Robert Cormier not to disappoint me with a sappy religious novel. Religious it was, sappy it was not! I've never been particularly interested in Catholicism and never knew much about it, but I learned a lot from this book and feel all the better doing so. Both Darcy and Kathleen Mary O'Hara are exceedingly likeable characters, particularly Kathleen Mary, who was in my eyes a younger version of Amy Hertz from Robert Cormier's novel 'I am the Cheese.' I thought there would be a happy ending. I really did. It was happy at first, when I learned that Darcy's father was safe and sound, but in the next chapter when I learned what happened to Kathleen Mary, all my expectations came down with a great and glorious crash. My father, when he saw me weeping, muttered about an 'adolescent mood swing.' I just kept sobbing. Why do good people have to die? Why?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars friendship and family 5 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As her father moves the family to an army town Darcy makes a new friend in an otherwise strange setting. She and Kathleen Mary become inseparable, best friends forever, and begin a journey of friendship that exposes Darcy to the Catholic faith. One day Kathleen Mary is gone and Darcy's father is missing in action. Darcy seeks out the help and wisdom of an old nun who explains the beauty of life and faith to her. As Darcy struggles with the loss of friend and father her newly discovered knowledge helps her through. This is a beautifully written story, one that is probably best suited for ages 11 and up. There are some beautiful passages where Cormier has blended words and imagery into a lovely picture.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful 4 Sep 2003
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Eleven-year-old Darcy Webster, caught between girlhood and adolescence during World War II, makes her first friend ever when she meets Kathleen Mary O'Hara, and their relationship blossoms until Kathleen Mary mysteriously disappears. At the same time, Darcy's father is reported missing in action. All this, plus Kathleen Mary's "baptizing" Darcy, brings her to a painful spiritual crisis.
Other Bells for Us to Ring is beautifully written but it raises many issues about God, miracles, growing up and alcoholism.
There are some beautiful passages where Cormier has blended words into a lovely picture.
It had wonderful characters. I felt like I was walking with Darcy through her personal tragedy. This is not a happy book, but I got a sense of strength feeling like I had gone through the same tragedies as the main character.
The most moving part in the entire story was when Darcy looked to an old nun, Sister Angela for help and wisdom, who explained the beauty of life and faith to her. I found this part amazing and extremely moving. I really got something out of it. Sister Angela's words were inspirational to me they really explained God to me. I knew who he was and everything. But I have never really understood things until I read what she said to Darcy.
I thought there would be a happy ending. I really did. It was happy at first, when I learned that Darcy's father was safe and sound, but in the next chapter when I learned what happened to Kathleen Mary, all my expectations came down with a great and glorious crash. It was powerful when John Francis showed up and gave Darcy the news. I thought that the giving of the doll gave me closure. It was a sad ending but yet it wasn't. It is quite hard to explain.
Overall this is a powerful book. It is truly exceptional.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you've never read Cormier, this is a great introduction 23 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Cormier has always written wonderful characters. His books have always been invitations to walk with them through their personal torment. This is not a happy book, his books never are. You get a sense of strength having gone through the same tragedies as the main character. Its a warm embrace into a cold world.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story about friendship, faith, hope and love 13 Aug 2011
By Timothy J. Bazzett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Every now and then I enjoy reading something written for children or teenagers (or YA as that crowd is called in the publishing game). Robert Cormier's OTHER BELLS FOR US TO RING falls somewhere in between, for the 11 to 12 year-old group. My younger son, who is now approaching forty, has been a Cormier fan ever since reading THE CHOCOLATE WARS back in junior high. I figured it was hight time I tried reading something by Cormier and this book's WWII setting appealed to me. I found the story engaging, moving and full of hope. Its heroine, 11 year-old Darcy Webster, wrestles with problems of faith and friendship, often thorny subjects at that age. She's a non-churchgoing Unitarian, but her new best friend, Kathleen Mary O'Hara, is an Irish Catholic. They bond as 'outsiders' in a mostly "French Canuck" community in WWII era Massachusetts. Darcy's father, a recovering alcholic, enlists in the army and is sent overseas with the Corps of Engineers and is soon reported MIA. Kathleen Mary is part of a large family with a violently abusive father. When the family suddenly disappears from the Frenchtown neighborhood, Darcy is devastated. She wishes she knew how to pray, both for her father and her friend. What she doesn't realize is that her inchoate heartfelt prayers are perhaps the most precious kind of all. There are surprising twists here, both happy and sad, as Darcy makes that always painful transition from childhood to young adulthood.

I was reminded of another similar book for young people I read a few years ago, also set during WWII, but in southeast Michigan, called WILLOW RUN, by Patricia Reilly Giff. It would make a suitable companion piece to read with this one. Both books bring back the wartime experience from a child's point of view.

In short, OTHER BELLS FOR US TO RING is a beautiful little book about those three things we always heard so much about while growing up - faith, hope and love. My son picked a good one; Cormier is a wonderful writer. I will recommend this book highly. - Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir BOOKLOVER
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