"If you love something let it go, if it comes back it's yours." The book Playing Beatie Bow (1980) written by Ruth Park clearly explores this statement and the true essence of love. Ruth Park makes you feel like a young girl who has fallen in love for the first time.
Abigail Kirk's family life was devastated when her father left her and her mother, Kathy, for his beautiful young secretary four years previous. Abigail had never forgiven her father, Weyland, for leaving them. So when Kathy announces to Abigail that she has been seeing Weyland, Abigail cannot understand her mother's behaviour.
Through looking after the neighbour's children, Abigail meets a "furry" young girl. Abigail follows the girl in order to talk to her, and finds herself in a strange, yet familiar place. She has entered into 19th Century Sydney Town a few blocks from "The Rocks" where she lives in the present day. Abigail "grows up" in the time spent with the "furry" girl, Beatie Bow, and learns the true meaning of Love.
Playing Beatie Bow delves into the differing relationships between two people and the ties that bind family. Unless someone has experienced it for themselves, how can one understand Love's blinding power. The storyline implies that in order to truly love someone, a person may have to forfeit their own feelings for family, friend or lover.
Love is clearly a key issue addressed in the book. Abigail cannot understand Kathy's love for Weyland Kirk until Abigail experiences love for Judah. Her love for Judah compels her to rescue Judah's betrothed, Dovey, and his brother, Gibbie. Abigail's love for Judah is so strong that she is willing to put aside her own feelings and risk her own life. In loving Judah, Abigail learns that to love someone is to make that person happy. Park explores the transition of childhood/adolescence to adulthood in this historical time-travelling novel. In order for Abigail to grow up, she must first fulfil a purpose that is brought about...
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