Roller Skates Summary
by Ruth Sawyer

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Roller Skates Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Roller Skates reflects Sawyer's strong belief that children should experience life and not be overprotected. The main character, ten-year-old Lucinda Wyman, is very independent and capable. A good role model for young people everywhere, Lucinda makes intelligent, sensitive decisions while escaping from the world of restrictions in which most children are compelled to live. Her moments of self-doubt and insecurity make her realistic and believable, enabling readers to relate to her today as they did during the first half of the century.

Lucinda also reflects Sawyer's great faith in young people and their capacity to understand and face the challenges of life. In her many positive encounters with adults, Lucinda finds them tolerant, interested, and supportive of children. Her guardian, Miss Peters, gives Lucinda the responsibility of deciding how to spend her afternoons, only requiring that the girl leave a note as to her whereabouts. Miss Peters and her sister, Miss Nettie, likewise leave notes for Lucinda when they go out, demonstrating their true regard for her importance as a valuable human being. While Sawyer has idealized her portrayal of adults, the exposure to such wonderful and sympathetic adults is refreshing.

Sawyer opposed depicting life as too soft or pleasant, even in books for young people, and her discussions of death in this book are forthright. Her attempt to let readers face the realities of life acknowledges their inner strength and affirms their ability to cope with truth.