Like Saturday mornings in the 50s and 60s when 6:30-10:00 a.m. TV programming was reserved for kids, this blog reserves Saturday mornings for kids and for those young-at-heart enough to enjoy kids and tweens’ books.
Today’s offering is one that was donated to my LFL (Little Free Library) in my yard.
It is a delightful read which I enjoyed as an adult and will appeal to kids, especially girls who are advanced readers and enjoy such classics as Jane Eyre.
This 1980 book gives a peek into the complicated life of Franny Dillman who feels she lives a dull life and decides to add a little excitement. Her excitement comes from reading and rereading Jane Eyre. She decides to keep a journal, and in it, she records her imaginary thoughts about her older sister, Grace and her brother, Wilson. When she shares this journal with her teacher at school, rumors fly and Franny’s whole family becomes involved in miscommunications and misunderstandings within the family and within the community.
Described on the cover as a “funny, telling spoof” about Franny’s secret life and her coming of age, this one is a “must read.”
This 2017 debut novel by Cherise Wolas is “a stunning debut–because there is nothing debut about it.” (A.M. Holmes, NY Times bestselling author). I agree with this statement one hundred percent. This is one of the smoothest, most professionally-written, insightful novels I have ever read. Every character is beautifully developed, every plot twist and turn is unexpected, and even shattering in one instance. The story explores, and maybe exploits, the thoughts and inner life of a writer in its main character, Joan Ashby.
The plot Wolas develops stems from “sacrifice” that is demanded with the onset of motherhood and the profound effect it can have on a gifted writer. Although originally unapologetic about her ambition, when the time comes Joan, our protagonist, makes the selfless choice, not once but twice with entirely different and even difficult outcomes. Excerpts from Ashby’s “dark and singular stories ” as one of her critics describes them are interspersed throughout the novel, and I must confess that I would love to read more than one of those imaginary short stories in its entirety.
Her struggles to set her two precocious sons on the road to success and happiness demand time and attention she must steal from her writing. Towards the end, with the plot developments that occur, Joan comes to question every decision she has made in her life, and as she travels to India to examine her accomplishments and failures, to evaluate her life and her life’s work, and there she makes the only decisions she CAN make to satisfy the intelligent reader. The article from a fictional literary magazine, which serves as an epilogue adds to the reader’s sense of closure and satisfaction with “the way things work out at the end.”
I highly recommend this book and rank it “right up there” with A Gentleman in Moscow as the best book I’ve read this year.