Gr 4-6Moira Flynn, 11, can't get her nose out of her favorite book, Gone with the Wind. When news comes that the movie will have a limited engagement at the local theater, her only desire is to see it. However, the film has been rated B, "Objectionable in part for all," by the Catholic Church. No one is allowed to see B movies, and while her parents are empathetic (her mother is just as big a Scarlett fan as Moira is), they never waver. In addition to mulling over the fiery consequences of disobeying, Moira struggles to find her niche at her parochial school. Her life is full of changesher best friend is suddenly distracted by the boys next door, America is on the brink of World War II, and a new parish priest challenges the class to think beyond rote catechism recitation. It is he who finally guides Moira to see the difference between blindly following rules and doing what's right for one's self. Today's adolescent may find it a stretch to connect with Moira, who skips and plays with paper dolls. The restrictive world of the Catholic school, complete with ruler-wielding nuns, will also seem foreign to most. However, Ford has created a believable character and setting, and Moira's yearnings to belong and grow will be familiar, even if her lifestyle is not. Unfortunately, the story does not have the easy humor or spirited pace of Ford's The Eagle's Child (Macmillan, 1990; o.p.).Lisa S. Murphy, formerly at Dauphin County Library System, Harrisburg, PA
If seventh grader Moira Flynn were a Unitarian, as is her best friend, Jane, she'd be allowed to see Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind, the most wonderful movie in the world. But Moira is Catholic and the Legion of Decency has rated the movie objectionable, so Jane is going to the movie with another girl. Moira must wrestle with her conscienceif she sneaks out to see the movie will it be a mortal sin?
The story starts off a little stiffly, too obviously setting up the conflict through dialogue in the first chapter. Then Ford (The Eagles' Child, 1991) warms to the tale and Moira soon emerges as a likeable and very real girl, with all the innocence befitting the 1940s small-town setting. Some of the minor Catholic characters remain fairly typecast; others, including Moira's mother, reveal unexpected sides. Contemporary readers may have different concerns from Moira's but will be delighted by her sincere efforts to find a way around the rules and the resolution of her conflicting feelings.