Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
Harcourt Brace & World, 1st edition, 1968
Genre: Young adult, literature, Bildungsroman
Synopsis & Review: Shannon Lightley was in despair. Tired of being dragged about Europe from school to school in the wake of her divorced parents—her mother a famous English actress, her father a prominent television news commentator—she had taken her last year of high school in a small Oregon town, only to find that she didn’t “belong” in her native America either.
Reached by an old friend of her father’s—a lawyer in Portland—just as she was on the verge of leaving for Europe again, Shannon undertook the assignment he offered her, to track down some odd strangers, living near the local university, who were involved in an unusual will that was being contested. Using an assumed name and working as a waitress in a campus diner, Shannon was entirely on her own for the first time in her life, and as the summer went by, she tried t sort out who she really was and where her future lay. (jacket copy)
At Jenny’s behest (and because I do love Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s Moccasin Trail), I checked Greensleeves out from the MCL, and OH MY GOD, I LOVED IT. Greensleeves has a lot to offer: alienation, a world-weary girl expat on the verge of womanhood, investigating a mystery while disguised as her polar opposite, two men who both see through her disguise to the worth beneath, someone finding themselves after high school, and blue eyeshadow. (I love blue eyeshadow. I have LOTS of it) Read the rest of this entry »
Tinsel: A Search for America’s Christmas Present by Hank Stuever
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1st edition, 2009
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir
Synopsis & Review: Black Friday 2006: Hank Stuever mingles with the crowd lined up outside a Texas Best Buy in the pre-dawn hours. When the doors open at five, he will be swept in alongside all the shoppers hunting the best bargains available on this most vaunted shopping day of the year. Business is booming in the US, and everyone seems to be spending, whether they have the money or not. From that arc-sodium lit parking lot, Stuever will follow several people through the 2006 Christmas season in suburban Texas, trailing them through malls and McMansion-filled neighborhoods. There’s Caroll, a single mother and devoted Christian, trying to provide her family with a lovely Christmas. There’s Tammie, energetic and optimistic, who decorates other peoples’ houses and is so involved with it that’s he sometimes neglects her own family. And there are the Trykoskis, a young and child-free couple who every year create a bigger, brighter, more elaborate light show on their house and yard, dazzling an endless stream of lookers on. While observing his subjects, Stuever also becomes an active participant, attending church programs with Carroll and hanging garland with Tammie. While immersed in their experiences for three years running (after spending the entire 2006 season in Texas, Stuever returns for visits in 2007 and 2008), Stuever also reflects on his own Christmases, and those of America.
I added Tinsel to my library request list right when it came out, but still didn’t get to read it till February. It’s okay, though; it doesn’t need to be Christmas to enjoy Tinsel. Read the rest of this entry »