A Solitary Blue

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A Solitary Blue (1983) is a novel by Cynthia Voigt. It was a Newbery Honor book in 1984. It takes place before, during and after the events described in Dicey's Song, Voigt's 1983 Newbery Medal winner and Come a Stranger. Instead of revolving around the Tillermans, however, it revolves around Jeff Greene, a boy who struggles to accept his mother for who she is.

Plot summary[edit]

Jeff Greene is a second grade student who comes home one day to find that his mother, Melody, has left. Jeff's father, "The Professor", is a reserved man who keeps to his daily routines and will not stand for any changes in his life. When Jeff feels sick, he makes light of it in an attempt to not burden his father, until he becomes seriously ill with a chest infection. Jeff had not been to the doctor for a check-up in a long time.

After many years without any contact from Melody, following Jeff's sixth grade year, she asks him to visit her in her family's home in Charleston, South Carolina for the summer. He connects with her and has a wonderful time, bringing joy back in his life. After his visit, he writes letters to Melody on the first day of each month, even though she never writes back. For Christmas, he sends Melody a beautiful scarf but receives nothing from her in return. Jeff convinces himself to excuse Melody for ignoring him, so he can keep loving her.

On his second summer visit one year later, Melody doesn't spend much time with Jeff. She has a boyfriend named Max, whom she spends all her time with instead, and she is never home for more than one day. Jeff's visit with his mother is very different from his previous one, and by the end of it, Jeff is forced to see that Melody doesn't really care about him at all. Frustrated, he buys a boat and goes to a solitary, remote island. There he sees a blue heron and relates it to his own life. When Jeff returns to Madison, he locks himself in his "tower room", a place where he can escape from Melody's hate. He is not socially active, does not talk to anyone, or express his feelings in any way. This is because he is heartbroken and withdrawn.

Eventually, Jeff begins to fail his classes, doesn't open up to anyone about his feelings, and eventually skips classes to ride a local amusement park ride. He becomes so withdrawn, Horace is convinced he is on drugs, but he finds out the truth and decides to make a change for Jeff's good. The two move to a log cabin located near Crisfield. Jeff loves the cabin, mainly because he had spotted a blue heron on the property.

Repeating his eighth grade year, Jeff makes two good friends, Phil and Andy, gets his life back on track, takes an interest in schoolwork, and learns how to play the guitar. Also, Jeff learns to accept himself and begins to build a real relationship with his father.

After two years in Crisfield, Jeff meets Wilhelmina (Mina) Smiths, a very happy and talkative eighth grade student at his school, and the Tillermans, Dicey, James, Sammy, Maybeth, and Grandmother Abigail. Jeff attracts Dicey with his guitar skills, and soon meets Sammy through Dicey's job at a local grocery store, Maybeth when he visit's Dicey's house to observe Maybeth's talent, and James as well.

As Jeff bonds with the Tillermans, the Professor, and Mina, Melody abruptly returns to his life and Jeff is faced with an opportunity to finally make peace on his own terms.

Chapter Summaries[edit]

When Jeff Greene was seven and a half years old, his mother walked out. Terrified of more disruption in his life, Jeff became quiet and withdrawn, anxious not to disturb his remote and preoccupied father, careful to avoid attention at school.

He lives like a ghost in his own life, until the summer he visits his mother, Melody, in Charleston. Melody, beautiful and charming. She captivates Jeff and breaks his heart. Devastated, he retreats into his own private world where he thinks no one can touch him.then he dreams that he is on a rainbow in his own colorful world and when he wakes up everything changes.

Chapter 1[edit]

In this chapter, Jeff is only 9 and comes home from school to find a note from his M (Mom-Melody) telling him that she had to leave for a while and for him to not be sad. Later Jeff's father, the professor, finds a live-in student to try to replace Melody. The student was a tall male named Jackson, the professor chose a male because "Girls tend to be unreliable". Later in the chapter, the professor comes to his third live-in student named Brother Thomas and Jeff catches the flu and he hides it from the professor, in hopes of it passing over and not disturbing his routine in result of this it elevates to the point of it being impossible to hide the professor finds out and tries to take Jeff's temperature but they don't own a thermometer. Thankfully Brother Thomas does, 104°, the professor doesn't know his doctor's name so Brother Thomas tells him to contact his wife, Melody, so he does and find out all he needs to know. calls the doctor and gets a house call. After the medicine was taken and Jeff was felling better, Brother Thomas spoke to Jeff about his parents' situation. Jeff find out his mother is living is Charleston, SC.

References[edit]

- book A Solitary Blue - English teachers