Summary: Christine is not thrilled when her dad loses his job and her parents decide to move cross-country from Toronto, Ontario to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Looking forward to starting high school with her best friends, Allie and Brittany, Christine instead finds herself in a intermediate school for her grade nine year. While she is referred to as a CFA (come from away) and others are skeptical of her city attitudes, Christine manages to make new friends and becomes involved in a project to save a local lighthouse that will change her life and the lives of others.
Number of Pages: 230
Age Range: 13-14
Review: Christine starts out as an unlikable character but Nancy Russell uses her move to Prince Edward Island to mature her into someone that you want to read about. And Russell does it all while providing her reader with a memorable window into real life in PEI.
I loved Russell’s contrast between big city and small town life and how she manages to point out the pros and cons of both. I enjoyed the theme of the lighthouse guiding people home and appreciated Christine’s struggle between wanting to go back to Toronto, but also feeling like PEI has become her home. But most of all I simply felt Light the Way Home was a valuable cultural piece of writing.
My favourite parts were Old Salt’s stories and songs, because they brought PEI to life for me. I’d recommend this book for early teen readers looking for a recreational or cultural read.
“‘Aye, it’s part of living by the sea, lassie,’ he added, sensing her reaction. ‘She’s magical and powerful and you must always respect her. At least, I always have.'” – Mack from Light the Way Home by Nancy Russell, page 81
“‘You know, you think it’s so glamorous, this life by the sea,’ he snapped. ‘Well, it’s not. My grandfather lost his boat in storm and the family had to live on welfare for years. My father’s brother hit the bottle after a couple of bad seasons and he lost his boat to the bank. My dad’s back is shot, thanks to years of hard labour. And now my brother wants to throw his life away, too. Isn’t that a lovely picture of life on the Island?'” – Scott from Light the Way Home by Nancy Russell, page 194
“Christine went back out onto the balcony. As she sat with Mack, Christine thought about Scott’s problems with his family. She wondered what Mack would think of Scott’s decision to give up fishing. Mack’s family also chose to go away, to Alberta, and to leave the Island and the lighthouses behind. It’s like the end of an era, she thought sadly, more of the brain drain that Jennifer had told her about. At the same time, she could see the young person’s point of view. They had a chance for a better living and they weren’t taking their life in their own hands every time they went to work.” – from Light the Way Home by Nancy Russell, page 196
“Looking out at the harbour again, Brittany gasped with pleasure. The sun had dipped below the horizon, but the afterglow had spread across the sky. The red Island soil glowed in the fading light, and the sky had turned a deep, velvety shade of blue. Even the grass seemed more alive than usual, turning the most lush green that Christine had ever seen it.” – from Light the Way Home by Nancy Russell, page 213