LETTERS FROM VINNIE by Maureen Stack Sappéy


Age Range: 10 - 12
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SappÇy gracefully blends fact and fiction in her chronicle of Vinnie Ream, the first sculptress to win a government commission and the creator of the statue of Abraham Lincoln that graces the Capitol building. Using the fictional device of letters to a friend, SappÇy tells Vinnie’s story in textured language, interweaving historical and personal details about her life as she grows from a passionate but raw adolescent to an accomplished lady in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War and its aftermath. Vinnie begins to study sculpture at 16, and takes to it immediately, describing the clay as “bending and moving under my fingers as though it understood my intention and desired to please my creative touch.” Although SappÇy has chosen a little-mined historical subject, Vinnie may be too good—in the old-fashioned sense—to be believable to readers. Her constant references to her heart (it knows what her lips will not speak, pounds in disappointment, lifts like a kite on the wind, words are torn from it, she keeps deep secrets in it, closets an old beau there, etc.) become grating, especially given the book’s stately pace. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1999
ISBN: 1-886910-31-6
Page count: 248pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1999