Her final assessment was that she enjoyed it "as much as you can enjoy a book that is so sad. I mean," she said, "it's the kind of book that leaves you depressed, but sort of happily depressed, in a way, if that makes any sense." Perfect sense, my sweet girl.
Anyway, what I have not mentioned is the following delightful fun-fact-to-know-and-tell: Scott O'Dell was friends with Maud Hart Lovelace. Insert squees and exclamation points here. (Hey, I'll do it for you: Squee! And another: !! ) He apparently showed her his manuscript, explaining that he had written another novel for adults. Maud promptly corrected him.
"Oh, no, no, no, dear," she chided, "you have written the perfect story for young people. But let me give you a couple of pointers. The story requires a wee bit more estrogen, for one thing. Karana needs to make a pretty skirt. And some jewelry, you silly man!"*
I can't believe I've lived lo these many years absent the knowledge of this literary friendship.
Sighing now, and off to research other famous literary friendships that I should already have known about.
*I have completely concocted this conversation, but it's based on information found here, and here, and in the acknowledgments of Island of the Blue Dolphins.