I got my prize copy of Mooshka - A Quilt Story last week (thank you Peachtree Publishers)! I felt I had to pay it forward by reviewing the book.
First, don't let the title fool you. I admit to being a nerdy, crafty kind of gal, but my mind expects "A Quilt Story" to be told at the Golden Girls' kitchen table by Rose Nylund. Even in St Olaf, how interesting could a quilt be? Luckily, the story isn't (just) a quilt story. It is a coming of age story; a little girl becoming a big sister. For the sake of this review, let's rename it Mooshka- A Quilt Story #NewBaby#Blankie#BigSister.
On to the story:
Karla's quilt, given the term of endearment "Mooshka," was crafted by her grandmother using scraps of tablecloths, curtains, and clothes called schnitz. As her grandmother quilted she told Karla an oral history of family adventures based on each piece of schnitz. At night Mooshka retells the stories to Karla when she can't sleep. Life is good until the arrival of a baby sister sharing Karla's room. Ugh. Then Mooshka stops talking. Double ugh. The situation comes to a head when the baby has the nerve to cry one night. Karla makes a bold move sharing her Mooshka and a story about her own piece of schnitz with her baby sister.
The drama when Mooshka stops talking after so many happy stories seems to leave many readers shaken. I couldn't help feeling grandmother had passed away before the new baby came, perhaps drawing on my own emotions. At a young age Karla has to take on the big responsibility of owning her family's stories and sharing them with her little sister. Maybe she is also sharing a piece of her grandmother with Hannah, too.
Ahh, the story reminds me of when my sister and I shared a room growing up. As the story goes in my family, my sister carried me by my head to my mom saying "shut this baby up." Now that's a piece of schnitz.
To see the family pictures and schnitz which inspired the author, visit Julie Paschkis' blog.