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"The universe gets more disorderly all the time." ―My Diary from the Edge of the World
My Diary from the Edge of the World
by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Maddie’s world isn’t ordinary. She lives in a world where dragons, mermaids, and giants exist. In her world, Dark Clouds come for people when they die, and one is after Maddie’s little brother, Sam. In an effort to save Sam, Maddie’s family sets off to find the only place where Sam will be safe—the Extraordinary World. The only problem is that most people do not think it exists.
As Maddie and her family travel, they must learn to work together to avoid the dangers of the world. And after traveling through many amazing places and facing many obstacles, Maddie learns that sometimes the biggest obstacle of all is to stop running from the inevitable.
My Diary from the Edge of the World is engaging because it is written in diary form from Maddie’s point of view. The world created is familiar because it contains many of the same places as the United States; however interest is added because witches are real (and Maddie’s grandmother is one), ghosts exist, and genies can grant wishes.
Even though the book has magic and mystery, the story has little action or suspense to keep the reader completely engaged. Maddie is a typical girl that has some interesting adventures, but her story lacks excitement. However, the ending does contain several scenes that will surprise the reader and give them hope.
- When Maddie’s parents stop talking to each other, Maddie wonders if her mother is going to run off with the ship’s captain. Maddie’s sister says, “They laugh together a lot . . . Mom and Dad never talk anymore, much less laugh together.”
- When the ship’s captain asks Maddie’s mother to stay with him, he “reached up to touch her face, trying to raise his lips to hers.” She reminds him that she is a married woman and refuses to leave her family.
- Virgil, an angel, has a crush on Maddie’s sister. In one scene, Maddie’s sister, “leaned up toward him and gave him a small kiss on the lips. A kiss that must have felt like a brush of air, but a kiss all the same.”
- The ship’s captain tells Maddie about sea ghosts. “. . . Poor drowned sailors who never had a chance. They’re the most vicious ghosts on earth, I’d wager, intent on dragging sailors into the Underworld with them.”
- Their ship is surrounded by a fleet of ghost ships. Virgil, an angel, uses his ability to create wind to outrace the ships and save everyone from certain death.
Drugs and Alcohol
- While searching for a captain of a boat, Maddie’s mother goes into a tavern where men are drinking.
- In Maddie’s world, Dark Clouds come for people when they die. “They wait outside people’s houses until it’s time, then they scoop up their soul and carry them away.” If a cloud does not come for a person, it will “drift around in Limbo.”
- Ghosts use caves to come and go from the Underworld. “They have a tendency to try to snatch people into the Underworld.”
- They find the Extraordinary World does exist. “I could see it was our planet, but a different version of it.”
- Angels live on Earth and are, “hiding out from the gods.”
- Maddie wonders about the angels that live on the Earth. “Animals are made to eat each other, and sometimes I wonder why. I wonder if that’s part of why the angels rebelled—because they thought the gods were mean in the way they made the world, and that they were making mistakes, and I have to admit that if I were an angel I think I might rebel too.”