Martha Lamon is a freelance writer and researcher based in Huntsville,
This offbeat book recounts the events in 11-year-old Ellen’s life over
the course of one summer. Ellen decides to write a book, but gets pulled
away from this pursuit because of the extraordinary things going on
Ellen’s environmentally conscious family are shocked when their new
neighbours destroy much of the vegetation on the property next door.
They are also dismayed to learn about a plan for a new subdivision that
will destroy the community’s water supply. As a result of their
decision to oppose the development, the Fremedon family becomes the
victim of a serious threat. The book reaches its climax when Ellen’s
younger twin brothers go missing and shady dealings at the water board
come to light.
Although it is engaging in many ways, Ellen Fremedon will have limited
appeal for a number of reasons. Using Ellen’s philosophy-professor dad
as a vehicle, Givner peppers the book with philosophical terms and
discussions that some young readers may find tedious. Also, while
Ellen’s difficulties writing her book are amusing, the awkward
construction that results as the reader traverses between the events in
Ellen’s life and Ellen’s writing about those events is cumbersome.
Finally, the lack of resolution of events in the book and the
introduction of new and unexpected events in the final chapter may leave
young readers confused or dissatisfied. Recommended with reservations.