10(ish) Thoughts on “Aunt Maria” by Diana Wynne Jones

5starrating

Title: Aunt Maria

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

factoids

  • Date read: March 1, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Fantasy (Contemporary)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 1991
  • Pages: 274 (hardback)
  • Fave character: Antony Green and Chris
  • Source: Library
  • Notes: Alternate title; UK title is Black Maria. Read in honor of March Magics

[Find on Goodreads]

review

10(ish) Thoughts on “Aunt Maria” by Diana Wynne Jones

1. First thing’s first: Time travel! There was a bit of time travel near the end of the book, which was SUPER awesome! I will not say anything more about it, but suffice to say that it was fabulous.

2. It’s told in first person by Mig, a girl who likes to write (kindred soul!). She tells us the story in her journal. I don’t always care for first-person, but I really liked how it was her journal! It gave the story such an immediate feeling and all the descriptions etc. felt so up-close-and-personal, somehow. And it didn’t feel like a normal journal-or-letters type story, because it wasn’t under daily headings or anything, but had more of a flowing-together sort of feeling. Anyways, it was so well done.

3. Favorite characters! Mig’s brother, Chris, is awesome. 😄 I really enjoyed his character! Chris(tian) not Chris(topher) as he likes to stress when Aunt Maria gets it wrong. 😛 He’s outspoken and has wonderful strong feelings of fun or anger, and is just great. While I’m thinking of favorite characters, Antony Green was fabulous. 😀 I really, really liked him! I also can’t say anything about him because he’s one of those fascinating characters with SO. MANY. SPOILERS. Ahem. But he’s great. 😀

4. The plot was super interesting and complex, with so much going on under everything, even though it seemed pretty ordinary on the surface for awhile. It was soooo strange! (Like DWJ books always are.) But also fascinating. The undercurrent of magical things, the strange, almost sci-fi/dystopia set-up of the strange village, Cranbury-on-Sea, with its people divided into vacant worker-men, women who work for Aunt Maria, and clone-like children in an “orphanage.” There are so many questions about EVERYTHING, so it’s very much a mystery (especially since we’re in Mig’s limited point of view).

5. On that note, for a good half of the story, I wondered why it WAS Mig’s POV, because it seemed like it would have worked better from Chris’s perspective. He was the one who was doing everything to start with, and Mig is always telling us things about what he thinks. But then things happened and everything clicked, and I realized exactly why it had to be Mig telling it and it made perfect sense. So I liked that. 🙂

6. Dislikes: Aunt Maria was awful! (So were her followers.) Eep. She acts like a sweet, innocent, helpless old woman, but she’s sooo creepy! Not that that’s a bad thing, exactly (meaning it’s not something I dislike about the book, I just dislike her. XD). I don’t care for splitting-up-couples storylines, so I’m not sure how I feel about that part, though under the circumstances I suppose it turned out as well as it could.

7. I felt like there was a lot of deep stuff going on… It really felt like it was presenting a lot of thoughtful takes on society and men and women etc. It was really interesting and I can’t really explain it. I might be able to put my finger on it better on a second read, but my first thought is that it had some fascinating ideas about society.

8. The characters were all so complex and well-written that most of the time I was kept guessing and re-adjusting on who I thought was good, bad, or on their way between changing back or forth, or just (as was often the case) had bits of good and bad mixed up in them just like real people.

9. Also contains: humor; a wolf-hunt (which is not what it seems); cats and wolves who are not what they seem; a fascinating bit on what it’s like to have a cat’s perspective (so adorable!); a mysterious elderly brother-sister pair (she’s tiny, with a tendency to fall over; he’s brusque and grumpy with a tendency to practice the art of swordsmanship—mostly standing holding a sword over his head); an ending which wrapped things up in a way that for the most part I really liked; and, of course, lots and lots of tea.

10. I think I need to reread it.

Favorite quotes:

What’s the good of being civilized, that’s what I’d like to know? It just means other people can break the rules and you can’t.

***

“There goes Mig with her happy endings again,” Chris said. But I don’t care. I like happy endings. And I asked Chris why something should be truer just because it’s unhappy. He couldn’t answer.

***

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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8 thoughts on “10(ish) Thoughts on “Aunt Maria” by Diana Wynne Jones

  1. I heard quite a lot about this book when I read Reflections, so it’s been in my TBR for a while. Maybe soon I’ll get around to it . . . In any case, I very much enjoyed your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohhh, yes, I forgot about that!! I read Reflections ages ago and I remember there were various books she mentioned that I hadn’t read yet… Now I want to read it again! Though maybe I should wait until I read more of them so I can get more references… 😄 I remember Reflections made me want to read it as well. 🙂 Methinks you’d like it, yes! And thanks so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh man, this sounds SO. GOOD. O_O I mean, a DWJ book with some TIME TRAVEL??? I NEEDS IT. But not just that, everything about it totally intrigues me! I actually quite like books that are like someone’s diary. I don’t want it ALL the time, because usually I just want to be immersed IN the story, you know? But I do enjoy a book like that now and again. It can be a lot of fun! I also totally love stories that revolve around a brother and sister for some reason. Sibling relationships in books are the BEST.

    Okay, this just sounds absolutely fantastic and I MUST have it sometime! I think one day I need to just break down and order all of DWJ’s books online. I’m funny about wanting to search for them at secondhand bookstores and library sales and things. It’s all in the hunt! Lol. But really, I love the treasure hunt of finding books I want for cheap. But I don’t know if I’ll EVER find DWJ books so…I may just have to go the online route. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yusss. It’s not like there’s a super lot of time travel (just near the end) but it’s well-done and clever and fun while it’s there. 😀 And believe me, even though it’s in a journal, I was TOTALLY immersed in this book. 😄 Brother and sister pairs are fun, yes! So yes, I think you’d really like this one! 🙂 It’s a little weird (isn’t that always the case with DWJ) and sooo different but I think you’d like it. 😀

      Eheh, yes, the DWJ hunt is a hard one. 😉 I think there just aren’t enough copies over here as opposed to in the UK. :-/ But many of them are available online fairly cheap-ish, so. *shrug* Sometimes I find one or two at library sales but it’s taken me a looong time to gather them up so far… The ongoing search! (I know what you mean about wanting to find them, though. :D)

      Like

    • It’s suuuper strange, but ultimately rewarding, at least for me. 🙂 TIME TRAVELLLL. It’s not like there was a LOT of it (just near the end) but it totally made the book for me. 😀 Clever time travel things are SO FUN. And complex characters too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: #MarchMagics Wrapup {2017} | The Page Dreamer

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