I have read this book more often than I can count. It is my favorite of Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy, and it remains as fantastic today as it was when I first read it. "Dragonsinger" is the continuation of Menolly’s story — she is a gifted female musician in a world where it is frowned upon for girls to do such a thing. At the opening of "Dragonsinger," Menolly finds herself at the doorstep of the Harper Hall (Pern’s equivalent of an elite music school) after having been tapped by the Masterharper himself — who is trying to change the ‘old ways’ for the better. The book details Menolly’s trials and tribulations of her first week in the hall, and ends with her finding the one place where she belongs.
What remains the biggest draw to this book for me is how Menolly’s story mirrors my own: growing up, I was always the odd one out. The square peg trying to fit in a round hole. The freak. I was always trying to do things my own way, always working with some new idea that others didn’t approve of. Like Menolly, I wanted to write songs and stories — and was discouraged because it wasn’t a "proper" occupation. I was a musician, but I didn’t play music that was "normal" for someone my age. Growing up, I dealt with a lot of opposition from my family and my peers (though, thankfully, not to the extent that Menolly had to deal with). Watching Menolly grow into herself, watching her come to terms with everything, and ultimately, finding her very own niche gave me hope that someday, I would find my own as well.
I can proudly report that I did. 🙂
Thank you, Menolly (and Ms. McCaffrey), for giving me the courage to follow my own dreams.