A children’s novel by a 9-year-old author that follows the life an exceptionally perky girl who experiences mostly good things in life.
The book opens on a very young Bienna Molo when she’s just about to start preschool. She’s nervous about attending class and afraid that the other kids will make fun of her because she wears glasses. However, when she finally does reveal her eyewear, the class accepts her and is proud of her courage. This pattern continues throughout the book as readers follow Bienna through school, her career, and ultimately to her death at the age of 95. Although she encounters challenges—her older sister ran away when Bienna was 2, and at another point, a girl is mean to Bienna—these problems are generally solved very easily, often within the span of a page. The speed of these resolutions often makes the book read like a set of small, separate anecdotes without much continuity. For example, one day, Bienna has a birthday party, and the next chapter, out of the blue, her parents have a new baby, and both events are treated with the same significance. Bienna’s various experiences don’t seem to leave her in any way altered, and her voice doesn’t really change as she ages. This is understandable in a book written by a 9-year-old author, however, as it’s very unlikely that someone so young would be able to imbue a story of such scope with maturity and reflection. As it is, the book is a very impressive set of vignettes, considering its provenance.
An admirable foray into novel-writing by a young writer.