Apr 27, 2010

Saturday, the Twelfth of October

by Norma Fox Mazer

I read this book first as a preteen. I think it was the first book I ever read depicting what life might have been like among prehistoric peoples, and it fired my imagination. Not only was it about prehistoric humans, but a girl from modern times is inexplicably catapulted back through the centuries to live among them. Following a harrowing incident, Alexandra ("Zan") hides herself behind a boulder in the park, feels a whirlwind around her and wakes up in a wild world of immense, vivid plants, strange creatures, and shy people who speak an unknown language and seem to melt into the forest, where they exist in harmony with nature. Bruised, terrified and confused, Zan tries desperately to follow them, finding herself clumsy and inarticulate at best. After overcoming her shock (which takes several days), she slowly manages to find acceptance in the tribe, but some of the people always see her as a foreign outsider, a threat. Zan herself comes to enjoy her life among them, while at the same time struggling to hold onto memories and knowledge from her true home. What begins as a peaceful coexistence starts to escalate into conflict until Zan begins to wonder what her future will really be like. Will she be stuck in this primeval world forever?

Saturday, the Twelfth of October is a really cool book. Highly imaginative, fluidly written. Not just an adventure story or look at life in the ancient, ancient past but also a coming-of-age story, about a girl painfully seeking her way through the ups and downs of puberty and adolescence.

I first read this time and time again at the library, but have since found my own used copy. I think it's out of print now. Has anyone else read it? Can you recommend any other books by Norma Fox Mazer? This is the only one I've ever read by her.

Rating: 4/5 ........ 247 pages, 1975

Anyone else posted about this book? I'll add your link here!


Jenny said...

I never read Norma Fox Mazer when I was younger - I had her mixed up with Zilpha Keatley Snyder, who I definitely disliked. But this one does sound interesting!

Jeane said...

I can easily see how someone would compare Mazer to Snyder, but the styles are quite different- Mazer (if I remember clearly) writes for a slightly older audience and goes into a bit more depth. I liked some of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's books as a kid- there were quite a lot around!

Amy G said...

October 12 is my birthday :)

Jeane said...

Hmm... were you born on a Saturday? it must be a sign- you have to read this book!!