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Keeping up with Katy
on 14 November 2004
Katy's tale could so easily have been preachy. Set in 1860s USA it's about a thoughtless, careless, happy girl who has a terrible accident. As she learns to live with pain and with not being able to walk, she also learns how to be patient and loving.
However, the lessons are interspersed with annecdotes about Katy and her family. These are so alive and colourful that I am sure they must be partly true! There's the time Katy befriends a counterfeiter's wife; an important visitor finds and reads aloud Katy's story about Bop the blue poodle and Lady Edwitha of the Hebrides; and her sister Johnny's 'baby', a chair named Pikery falls ill and must be dosed with stolen medicine.
I love the underlying message, which is that good deeds begin at home - think globally, act locally. After Katy falls ill, she lies in bed fretting that she will never be able to perform all the great deeds she hoped to do. However she learns that she can make a difference to her family and friends.
I love the honesty of it - although at the end Katy is adored by her family, she is still sometimes headstrong and impatient, and there are times when she must work at being good. I loved the fact that her change has not consumed the joyous, impetuous part of her and there are still merry times after the accident.
I would love to know what a person who has suffered a similar disablement thinks of this story.
Similar reads are L M Mongomery's Anne and Emily books, Laura Ingalls Wilder's pioneering stories and Louisa M Alcott's Little Women.