“The Blue Diary” by Shannon Allen truly packs a lot of emotion into a short piece. It is a slice of life from a woman recalling the diary she purchased shortly before her 11th birthday and wrote in when she was 11-12 years old.
It is the only diary the author still has in her possession, along with a couple of boxes of trinkets, souvenirs of events shared with special people and personal treasures from her past. Described in vivid detail, the author takes the reader right into her experience of purchasing the diary, admiring its design, writing in it and eventually reflecting on her entries from a more mature perspective as she has grown up.
Dedicated to Granny, her grandmother, the author lets us know how important Granny was to her at this time of her life: it was a time when the girl’s family had moved to a new town and she was also adjusting to being a latchkey kid because both of her parents had gone into the workforce.
One of her first entries is about a month before her 11th birthday. A key event of that time is a phone call from Granny, who advises that she might not be eleven again.
Then, in re-reading her entries, she reflects on how insubstantial some of her concerns back then appear compared to life today. But she is grateful that she has the diary because, in holding it, she really is eleven again. The diary takes the author right back in time, and the author takes the readers right back in time with her.
This is a very touching and gracefully constructed piece, sentimental in nature and nostalgic in tone. With adept skill, she moves through time seamlessly. The author uses succinct sentences and paragraphs, and the end result is both satisfying and a bit wistful. Ms. Allen has pulled the curtain back on a corner of her past, and I can’t wait to see what she decides to reveal next.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)