By Awnali Mills
Macy’s world is changing, and she’s not happy about it. She’s deaf, and gets in a fight with her only friend who signs. Now they aren’t speaking and Macy is lonely. Her mother is getting married, and Macy has no desire to get lost in a family with two other sisters—she likes that she and her mother are a team of two. And, as part of the marriage, her mother is selling their house, and Macy is losing her garden.
All in all, she’s pretty miserable.
Then, her mother insists that she help their next door neighbor pack, and Iris Gillan doesn’t even sign. Just how exactly is that supposed to work? But Macy and Iris very quickly form a friendship, and Iris helps Macy learn about stories and relationships, and the pleasures of unexpected pathways.
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess is a story in verse. I don’t know why, but my instinct when I pick up a novel in verse is always “Yeck. Couldn’t they have just written a story?” I checked this book out because I really loved the jacket description, and I read it reluctantly. I loved the book. Since that happens almost every time I struggle with reading a novel in verse, you’d think I’d get over the whole “Yeck” thing. I guess novels in verse just don’t last long enough to suit me. I’m not fond of short stories, either.
At any rate.
I loved that Green has chosen a deaf girl for a heroine, and the story is not about being deaf. Deafness is just part of who Macy is, like having red hair. The book is really about the families that we chose for ourselves, and the importance of listening to the stories of people’s lives, and helping other people tell their stories. (It’s so cliché to say that a book is about the power of stories, but sometimes it just IS.) Macy is a normal girl getting to fights with her friends, and hating change—I could really relate. But I appreciated the reminder that, while change may be unwelcome, it can also bring wonderful things. Give this to anyone who enjoys books about intergenerational relationships, or who needs help with some unwelcome change. Recommended for grades 3-5.