My Life In Books: Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth

I found this book in the school library when I was about 7 or 8, and I liked it so much I looked for it again later on. It’s one of the few books in this list I’ve read several times without ever actually owning.

I liked it because I identified with the main character Elizabeth. Short for her age and teased by her classmates, Elizabeth finds a kindred spirit in Jennifer, an odd loner who claims to be a witch. Despite the title it’s not actually a book about witchcraft – it’s a book about being lonely and being the ‘odd one out’. Although Jennifer and Elizabeth try out spells none of them actually work.

In the end it’s about two lonely young girls who find companionship in each other. It’s because of this theme that this book made such an impression on me as a child. Loneliness and isolation have been recurring themes in my own writing, as well as themes that resonated with me in books.

Unlike most of of images that have been accompanying this series of posts, where I could only find the current cover, the cover shot I include here is from the edition I actually remember reading, in the 1970s.

If you have a lonely, book-loving little girl in your life, she’ll enjoy this story, if you can get your hands on a copy. One of the most important lessons in life is that it’s OK to be different, and this story relays that message in an eloquent way – even if I didn’t actually understand that’s what I was getting from it at the time.

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