Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Copyright Date: 2009
# of Pages: 219 (Nook edition)
Reason for Reading: It was free (Free Friday at Barnes & Noble). Also, I really like Maureen Johnson’s works. I thought I had read this one before, but somehow missed it.
Stay on the Left Bank, in Montparnasse. This area is maybe the most famous artists’ quarter in the world. Everyone lived, worked, and played here. There were visual artists, like Pablo Picasso, Degas, Marc Chagall, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Salvador Dali. Writers, too, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Gertrude Stein. There were actors, musicians, dancers…too many to name. Suffice it to say that if you stood here in the early twentieth century and you started throwing rocks, you would hit a famous and incredibly influential person who helped shape the course of artistic history.
Not that you would have wanted to throw rocks at them.
Anyway, go now.
I have to insist that you go to the Louvre immediately. You can get your next assignment there, in the proper atmosphere.
Ginny’s madcap Aunt Peg has died, but not before leaving some really peculiar instructions for Ginny. She was to fill her backpack with the necessities, which did NOT include travel guides, language aids, journals, money, credit cards, cell phones, laptops, cameras, etc. Basically that meant clothes. But not too many, because how much can you really stuff into a backpack. And there were 13 little blue envelopes. She was to start with envelope #1, which would give her instructions and lead her to the spot where she was to open envelope #2, and so on.
Ginny’s travels led her throughout Europe, and introduced her not only to some memorable characters, but to her aunt and to herself.
What I Liked: I loved that not everything was rosy-posy. Not everything happened according to plan, and seeing how Ginny reacted and learned to roll with the punches was delightful. I loved getting to know Aunt Peg.
What I Didn’t Like: I don’t know that I actually didn’t like it, as much as perhaps I couldn’t read him, but I’m not really crazy about a certain young man Ginny meets early on in her travels. He bugs me. But again, it fits beautifully into the framework of the book, which makes me love it again. See? I’m all tortured and conflicted.
So overall, I’ll say that this is a really wonderful book, and that I think you would like it if you give it a try. And if you do like it, give some others by Maureen Johnson a try. One of my favourites is The Bermudez Triangle.