Up a Road SlowlyIrene Hunt
Berkley, January 2005
About the Book
After her mother’s death, Julie goes to live with Aunt Cordelia, a spinster schoolteacher, where she experiences many emotions and changes as she grows from seven to eighteen.
I loved Irene Hunt’s Up a Road Slowly. Is it one of the best coming-of-age stories that I’ve read? Perhaps. At least one of the best I’ve read lately. I think out of all the Newbery books I’ve read this year (newly read as opposed to reread) this one would probably be my favorite and best. It reminded me—in a good way—of Good Morning, Miss Dove and Emily of New Moon.
Julie is the heroine of Up a Road Slowly. When we first meet Julie, she’s a child: around seven years old. Her mom has just died, and her father is sending off his two youngest children to Aunt Cordelia. The oldest, Laura, is in her final year of high school, I believe. Christopher is the brother. How will Julie adapt to her move to the country, to her new house, to living with her aunt whom she barely knows? It isn’t easy certainly. But truth be told, Julie would probably struggle some with her emotions no matter what.
So, essentially, readers watch Julie grow from seven to seventeen (or eighteen) throughout the novel. Readers get to know Julie, Aunt Cordelia, and Uncle Haskell very well. One of my favorite things about the novel was its characterization. Hunt did a great job at making her characters achingly human. Readers also get to know Julie’s classmates and friends.
Did I have a favorite character? Of course. I loved Julie. And I am really, really happy with whom she ended up with. It made me giddy in fact. But I think my favorite character may just be Aunt Cordelia herself.