Review: Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy
In the early 1900s, Turner Buckminster had just moved from Boston to Phippsburg, Maine and didn’t feel like he fit in. Everything’s different and no one could forget that his father’s the local minister. Turner longed for Boston, until he met Lizzie Bright Griffin. Lizzie is a young black girl who lived on Malaga Island with her grandfather (who happens to be a minister too). Turner visited Malaga Island and found it and the people who live there to be magical.
The shipyards in Phippsburg were failing, so the people, led by Deacon Heard, have decided to turn to tourism to stimulate the economy. Deacon Heard convinced everyone that they need to get rid of the settlement on Malaga Island because no one will want to vacation in Phippsburg if they can see the hovels on the island. Turner’s father sided with the townspeople. Turner knew what they were doing was wrong, but didn’t know how to fight them. Turner discovered that he had wisdom and maturity beyond his years.
I listened to Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt on a recent trip and thought it was fantastic! I laughed and cried while I listened. Sam Freed does a wonderful job with the narration, using different voices for different characters and even using a Maine accent. The audio runs for 6 hours and 49 minutes. I loved the characters – Lizzie is smart, sassy and wise, while Turner is curious, kind and innocent. The story is well developed and engrossing. This is a YA book, but I just loved it. It’s a Newbery Honor Book and a Michael Printz Award Honor Book.
At the end of the book there was an author’s note that explained that the book and its characters are a work of fiction, but Malaga Island and its inhabitants are not. The residents of Malaga Island were forced from their homes and their homes were destroyed, yet a resort area was never built. I found this interesting video about Malaga Island: