Someday by Jackie French Koller; Orchard
Books: New York, 2002; $16.95
Ever thought about your “someday”? You know, someday you’ll go off to college, someday you’ll get a job, someday the house, the family—someday, someday, someday. Someday the town you’ve loved and grown up in will be washed away to nothing more than a reservoir for a big city, is not your normal “someday.” It will no longer be on a map; only a sad distant memory for the people who once lived there. I’m almost positive that that thought hasn’t entered your mind. For Cecelia Wheeler, though, it was a fact, but one that was always off in the distant future. Yes, it would come true, but it was too far away to think about now. Unfortunately for Cecelia, someday, sadly, came too soon.
In this creative and detailed story, fourteen-year-old Cecelia Wheeler (affectionately known as Celie) is falling apart as she watches her town collapse. Everything she knows (including her family) is changing. Worst of all, she might have to move to Chicago, a city too far away for words to describe from her precious town of Enfield, Massachusetts. More importantly, Chicago was too far away from her best friend, Chubby Miller. During the last few days of Enfield, a strange, handsome and wealthy young man waltzes into Celie and her mother’s lives. It seems as if nothing could go right. When there was a sliver of hope that things might go right, it just crumbles again. Someday is the story of the surprises, the misery, and the triumphs of the people during the last few days of Enfield—and all the towns in the Swift River Valley.
While I was reading this book, I thought about my own somedays. I remembered that years ago, I loved to go to my grandpa’s house very much. He had so many stories, so many memories of the way things were. I was immersed in my family’s history. I had always known my grandpa was old, and I knew that someday he would die, but when it happened, it all seemed so sudden. It was as if we were just in the living room of his house, sitting at his feet and listening to his stories and all of a sudden the stories ended; I just wasn’t ready. Then, I remembered that last year, I had to make the decision about which middle school I would attend. As most of you know, middle school is a big step from elementary. For me, it was an even bigger step. I decided not to attend the school where all my friends were going, but a school where anyone who attended was immediately labeled a snob. I knew no one where I was going, and I had to basically start all over again. There were new teachers, new kids, new rules and a whole new environment. I knew that someday this would happen, but once again I just wasn’t ready. My someday came and now I enjoy my new school. I also enjoy my friends—old and new.
One of the things I really loved about this book was how the story about the town wasn’t the only story going on. Celie and her family had to deal with everything from love to hate, joy to sorrow, laughter to tears. Read the book and think about your somedays. Maybe you’ll get the same message I did, or maybe it will be something totally different for you. I know this much is true: when your somedays become today, you can remember yesterday with the hope for a brighter tomorrow.