Author: Sharon Creech
My rating: 4.5 of 5
In the Swiss mountains, far from the noise and bustle of the cities, in the ancient Casa Rosa lives an angel. The angel has been there for hundreds of years, watching over the people of the small village, protecting them and keeping them in line. But the angel isn’t really sure exactly what it’s supposed to do, what angels normally do. It’s never met another angel, has no idea where heaven is, nothing. But it (he? she?) goes on trying to help anyhow. One day, the stillness of the mountains is interrupted by the arrival of the Americans Mr. Pomodoro, who is planning to open a school, and Zola, a girl with boundless energy and brightness. Zola is able to see the angel, unlike most everyone else around, and she quickly recruits the angel’s help with all manner of ideas she has about how things should be run around Casa Rosa. Suddenly life isn’t so still and leisurely anymore. . . .
I had never read anything by Sharon Creech before, and The Unfinished Angel was truly a pleasant surprise! It is an original, sweet, heart-warming tale of the best sort–a children’s story that looks at people from a different perspective, making us realize once again what it is to truly be human. It’s the sort of story that makes you value compassion once again. The characters are all well written; numerous individuals populate this short book, each with a unique story and personality. Zola is quite the move-and-shaker of the story, always pulling out some surprise or another, but with a sweet hidden side to herself also. And the angel is written impeccably. The entire book is told first-person from the angel’s perspective, and it’s beautiful. The angel is, as the title says, unfinished, incomplete. It doesn’t know its purpose, and it doesn’t always get its words right. This is probably one of the most noticeable charms of the book–it’s written in the angel’s own stumbling dialect, completely comprehensible but with made-up words and almost-right words mixed in all over the place in an absolutely adorable sort of way. I would high recommend The Unfinished Angel to any reader in late elementary on up; it’s really a beautiful story.