Little did I know I was in for such an adventure when I picked up Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster. This book transported me to Victorian London in a way no other book has – from the point of view of a young orphan chimney sweep named Nan Sparrow. Her job is not only dangerous, it’s downright life-threatening. In a harsh environment that regularly claims the lives of many, Nan has not only risen to the top as one of the best climbers, she’s also done so as a girl. Despite being forced to work under the employ of Wilkie Crudd, a ruthless master sweep who plays his young charges against each other in a battle of wits, Nan has managed to defy the odds countless times.
When the worst happens and Nan gets caught in a chimney fire, she assumes she’s done for. She can hardly believe her good fortune when she wakes up, unharmed, in an abandoned attic and finds a mysterious creature – a golem – made from soot and ash huddled in the corner alongside her. Their heartwarming story enfolds as Nan teaches her monster about survival in the world, and he, in turn, teaches her about love and friendship in ways she’s never experienced.
Magic and wonder are woven into this enchanting tale about love and loss, friendship and transformation, and the power that one person’s voice can have in effecting change for the better. Jonathan Auxier touches on a timeless theme in this beautiful story of the unfolding of a young girl’s life in the midst of great suffering:
We save ourselves by saving others.
I couldn’t have stated it better myself. Guys, this is a must read. I laughed and cried my way through this book, but most important of all, it brought to mind all those who have touched my life in a similar way – by sacrificing part of themselves to bring me back to life.
I hope you discover the same. Drop me a line if you read this book, I’d love to chat!