Monday, March 10, 2008

Nell's Quilt

This story, by Susan Terris, revolves around a young woman named Nell. She is 18, in her last year of high school and her parents have arranged for her to marry a 20-something widower with a 5-year-old daughter. The year is 1899 and that's not unusual for the times.
However, Nell has a different plan for her life. Her grandmother was a suffragist and she wants to follow in her footsteps. Those plans include attending college in Boston.
Her parents will hear none of it. They continue to plan her wedding and she comes to realize that, perhaps, it may be the best thing for her family.
As she gives in, she becomes more and more depressed. She can't eat or sleep. The only thing that keeps her going is a basket of fabric scraps. The pieces are said to be from dresses her grandmother owned and wore. Nell decides to create a patchwork crazy quilt, with each square embroidered to represent a person in her life.
Nell slips deeper and deeper into depression. She becomes so thin that her health is threatened.
What will happen to her? Will she finish her beloved quilt? Will she marry?
The answers to these questions will surprise and amaze the reader.
I really liked this book. Very compelling and well-written. Susan Terris obviously did her homework before writing about Nell's illness and should be commended for the passionate, understanding way she approaches the issue of depression and the side effects caused by it. This is an issue that is timeless and crosses all social boundaries.

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