The Onion Girl

The Onion Girl
by: Charles de Lint

Challenges: TBR Challenge

Published: 2001

# of pages: 508

I've heard so much about Charles de Lint, mostly about The Onion Girl. So it's been on my TBR list for the longest time. I also heard about Dreams Underfoot, which I believe is a collection of short stories. Now I realize that I should have read the stories before The Onion Girl, a novel. The stories and the novel take place in Newford, a city where magic and reality mix. I think that the stories introduce you to the characters and the world better than the book. Too late, I read some reviews that said not to start out the Newford books with The Onion Girl because it can be confusing. I wouldn't say that I was confused, but I did feel like something was missing. I felt like I didn't have a connection that the author assumed his readers had.

There are a lot of characters, but I didn't find them hard to keep track of. There are a few characters that are mentioned over and over, but never make an appearance. It's as if the reader is already supposed to know them. So I definitely recommend reading de Lint's other stories first, but The Onion Girl can definitely be read alone and still be understood and enjoyed.

The book concentrates on the character of Jilly. Jilly is in an accident that leaves her paralyzed, not a great experience for anyone, but especially not for an artist. She is also forced to confront her horrible past as she attempts to heal physically. She has the support of many, many friends who live in Newford and who are all involved in the artsy scene. I found it a little annoying that almost ALL of the characters are artsy. Can't a housewife, waitress, or business woman recognize and appreciate magic as much as poets, painters, and musicians?

Jilly's accident physically affects her in many ways, one of which she is suddenly able to visit the magic parallel world in her dreams. Many of her friends go there in her dreams or physically go there and her one comfort after the accident is that she can travel there. Although she visits there in a dream state, it's a real world that exists at the same time as "The World As It Is," the normal world. When she visits the magical world she meets many interesting creatures and characters. I enjoyed reading of her visits and thought that de Lint did a great job in creating an entire world that is original and unique.

I recommend this to adult lovers of fairytales and fantasy. There are many disturbing scenes about the abuse Jilly and other characters suffered as children. There's also several sexual scenes and bad language, so I don't recommend this to young adults or people who are sensitive about such things. However, even though there's so many disturbing things, the book is still full of hope and Jilly's strength is even more apparent. I'm giving the book three stars because although it was good, I don't think I'll ever read it again. It didn't hook me although I suspect it's because I wasn't properly introduced to the Newford characters. I'm definitely planning on reading Dreams Underfoot and maybe I'll change my mind after that. Anyone here read these books? What do you recommend I read next?

Other reviews:
things mean a lot

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1 comment:

Nymeth said...

This was my first (and only so far) Newford book, and I agree..not an ideal starting points. I could follow the story just fine, but I also felt like I was missing things at times.

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