Jul 12, 2011
7:01 AM | Posted by Elana | Edit Post
"The beguiling fourteen-year-old narrator of In Zanesville is a late bloomer. Even in her small midwestern city, where modesty is prized and self-assertion is a faux pas, she flies under the radar - a sidekick, a third wheel, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose eureka moment is the discovery that "fudge" can't be said with an English accent.
Luckily, she has a best friend, a similarly undiscovered girl with whom she shares the everyday adventures - sometimes harrowing, sometimes embarrassing - of a 1970s American girlhood, incidents through which a world is revealed, and character is forged.
In time, their friendship is tested - by their families' claims on them, by a clique of popular girls who stumble upon them as if they were found objects, and by the first, startling, subversive intimations of womanhood.
With dry, irrepressible wit and piercing observations, Jo Ann Beard shows us that in the seemingly quiet streets of America's innumerable Zanesvilles is a world of wonders, and that within the souls of the awkward and the overlooked often burns something radiant."
About the Author:
"Jo Ann Beard is the author of a collection of autobiographical essays, The Boys of My Youth. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She received a Whiting Foundation Award and nonfiction fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She teaches nonfiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Rhinebeck, New York."
In Zanesville is a great coming-of-age novel. There were so many times that I was thinking "that sounds so much like me as a teen" as I read the book. The main characters are believable and real, and the families are like many of the ones around us. I could feel as though I were re-living my tumultuous adolescence alongside these characters. The main difference is that I didn't make the same mistakes that these girls do...not even close! I was a goody-goody in comparison and didn't start making the real mistakes until college. (But even then I was still pretty good.)
Reading this book will make you laugh at how silly and stupid teenagers can be, especially when you realize that you were most likely quite similar. And you'll also sigh when you read about the dysfunctional families that these girls have to live with. I consider myself so lucky that I came from a loving and mostly-normal home. (Anyone who says their home was completely normal is lying.) :-)
Cost: You can buy In Zanesville from Amazon.com for $12.76.
Overall: We give In Zanesville a 9/10!
One lucky reader will win a copy of In Zanesville!
We were sent copy of the book "In Zanesville" free of charge for the sole purpose of this review; no other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are my own.