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The Fifteenth Pelican: 05/01/13

cover art

A couple years ago our local independent television channel aired in order every episode of The Flying Nun. After seeing the "based on the novel by..." for the dozenth time or so, I decide to track down a copy of the novel and see how it compared to the series.

The Fifteenth Pelican by Tere Rios is a slim and adorably illustrated novel. It essentially reads like first episode except that there's a bite to the humor absent in series.

While it may seem like an odd place to start, I recommend reading the Afterword first — even if you're familiar with the show. It's a reproduction of an article about the Sisters of Charity redesigning their habits along more conventional lines. The author offers the hypothesis that Sr. Bertrille's misadventures in windy San Juan, Puerto Rico might be the inspiration.

With that in mind, Sr. Bertrille is introduced as being about ninety pounds of enthusiastic youth. She arrives aboard ship with a fruit basket in hand. The basket and the fact that she's made friends with the sailors, puts her immediately at odds with with proper and strict Mother Superior.

Add to the fact that her light body and oversized and oddly aerodynamic habit gives her lift in the crosswinds that blow across the island — and Mother Superior doesn't know what to do with her newest nun.

Five stars

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