Review: The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky

dubosarskyThe Golden Day

Ursula Dubosarsky

150 pages

Published in August 2013 by Candlewick Press

Source: Public Library

These things were too deep and difficult for the little girls. After all, they knew nothing of wives or armies or desert tribes. At night on the television news they heard gunfire and the sound of helicopter blades and bombs falling. Soldiers were dying in flames far away in a black-and-white land where people wore triangular hats and worked in rice fields and everyone, everyone, was always running away in terror. That was all they knew, all they could know. The little girls hung on to the brink of a hugeness that they knew was there but had no way of discovering.

It’s 1967 and the Vietnam War is raging overseas. But at home in Australia, life is changing in ways that eleven little girls have not yet grasp. The girls make up Miss Renshaw’s class at a small all-girls school. It’s a normal day when the teacher leads her class to the local park for lessons. But something happens and the girls return to school without Miss Renshaw. Their teacher mysteriously disappears, leaving the girls and their small city wondering, what happened to Miss Renshaw?

I picked up The Golden Day after it made a few best of 2013 lists. Before then, I never heard of her and none of my libraries have copies of her books, except this one. That should change.

Dubosarsky performs the hard task of giving each girl a personality of their own, but the one that soars and readers hear the most from is Cubby. Cubby has the perceptiveness of an adult; she knows almost instantly that Miss Renshaw won’t be coming back. That knowledge doesn’t stop her from wishing and hoping for her teacher’s return. Readers are also left wondering about Miss Renshaw and whether she’s still alive or dead as the adults in the story believes. That feeling of uncertainty and loose ends had me turning pages.

With her best friend and fellow classmate, Icara, the pair along with their class, grow up and go their separate ways but never forget their lost teacher. They also gain more insight into Miss Renshaw but it’s still not enough.

The Golden Day is a beautiful meditation on childhood lost after a sudden event. My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

But with Cubby, Icara was not far-flung. She was nearby-close-at-hand-a-stone’s-throw-away. They were friends without either of them knowing why. It was as though after that first day, when Icara had taken hold of Cubby’s frightened hand, she had never let it go. Cubby and Icara could sit together in the playground or on the bus or in the library not saying much for hours, just a lovely rhythmic silence, like the sound of breathing when you’re asleep.


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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13 Responses to Review: The Golden Day by Ursula Dubosarsky

  1. Gavin says:

    Thanks for this review! I am adding this to my TBR list.

  2. This sounds like a must-read: I have a copy en route to me now. Thanks!

  3. Kailana says:

    I had missed hearing about this book, but it does sound good. 🙂

  4. Bree says:

    Ok stop with your good books that I must add to my list. Just kidding. Keep them coming.

  5. I got this for my birthday! Super excited to read it.

  6. BermudaOnion says:

    Now I’m curious about what happened to Miss Renshaw. This sounds like a page turner.

  7. Athira says:

    Now I’m intrigued. This one sounds fascinating! I’m going to see where I can get it from.

  8. tanya says:

    I so want to read this book. I also saw it on a few best lists and had never heard of it, but it is calling out to me. Thanks for the review.

  9. I’m excited to try this. I have heard a bunch of good things about this author, and I love the quotes you shared.

  10. booknaround says:

    I hadn’t heard about this one but it sounds fantastic! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  11. aartichapati says:

    Wow, I’d not heard of this one at all. Way to pique the interest of so many people 🙂

  12. olduvai says:

    Like most other commenters, I’ve not heard of this book yet but it’s definitely on my list now! Looks like I’m going to have to inter-library-loan this one though!

  13. Debi says:

    Oh my, this really does sound good! Thanks for the wonderful review–I’m another who not heard of this before, and am so glad that has changed.

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