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Book Review: ‘The Miracle on Monhegan Island’ by Elizabeth Kelly

Recently, I was hunting at the library for my next book to read when I came across Elizabeth Kelly’s ‘The Miracle on Monhegan Island’. Typically I stick with mysteries, but the fun, summery cover caught my eye, and I love all things Monhegan, so I thought I’d give it a try.

It took a whole chapter for me to realize that Ned, the narrator in this novel, is a dog. Yes, it is Ned the dog’s voice we hear as the story unfolds. I thought this was really bizarre, and to be honest, it just didn’t appeal to me as a reader. So I put it down, not intending to pursue it any further. Later, I thought to myself that perhaps I may be missing out on a really great story, so I decided to give it another chance. I am very glad I did.
It turns out that ‘The Miracle on Monhegan Island’ is surprisingly serious and quite thought-provoking. In fact, while reading, I jotted down several poignant quotes. Early on, we are introduced to Spark (a human) who at first appears to be very one-dimensional. However, we soon realize there is a lot more to him than his flawed but colorful character. As Ned (the dog) narrates, he is quite astute in his philosophical comments on humanity. The novel is actually about a truly dysfunctional family just trying to do the best they can. I think we can all relate to that in some way. The story is an odd combination of dark humor, religion, faith, mental illness, and ultimately, love.
I am so glad I gave this book a second chance. Once I re-started it, I couldn’t put it down. It is so different than anything I’ve ever read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
~Sarah Duffy, Library Assistant

Monhegan, Maine

As I mentioned last month, one of my favorite daytrips for a beautiful summer day in Maine is to take one of the many ferries out to an island off the coast.  This blog will talk about a day trip to the island of Monhegan.

Monhegan has long been a destination for artists.  There is something different and magical about the quality of light on the island. There have been wonderful paintings done by Edward Hopper, Jamie Wyeth, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent among many, many others.

 

You can access the island via ferry from Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor, or Port Clyde for about $36 round trip.  Do be sure to bring a sweater or sweatshirt for the ferry trip.  Even on the hottest day in August, crossing the open water can be a very chilling experience. Do not plan on bringing your vehicle.  Monhegan is a walker’s island and cars are not allowed on the ferries.
After the relaxing ferry ride, you have a choice of at least three ways to spend your time on the island.  You could take a leisurely walk about the area near that dock that includes a few businesses, Bed and Breakfasts, eateries, and homes. Another choice would be to take the leisurely tour of Cathedral Woods Trail which is to the left of the dock area.  A more active way to spend your time on the island, rewarded by spectacular views, is to turn right down the road after the dock and walk the perimeter of the island. 
 
There are several places to have lunch; most are of the take-out variety and feature wonderful seafood dishes that you can enjoy at a picnic bench.  I usually opt to have a sit down lunch at The Island Inn before I wander through town investigating the shops before boarding the ferry to head to the mainland.
Again, don’t forget your camera!
Some web sites to check out are:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monhegan%2C_Maine#Notable_people