Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Finds

A Year and A Day by Leslie Pietrzyk

In this heartfelt if familiar coming-of-age novel set in smalltown Shelby, Iowa, in 1975, Pietrzyk (Pears on a Willow Tree) chronicles a year in the life of 15-year-old Alice Martin after her mother's suicide. "Once you get through this first year, you're fine," the high school principal promises her, reading from a manual. But Alice isn't so sure. Three days after her mother's death, as Alice tries to fill her place by preparing Sunday morning pancakes, her mother speaks to her, providing advice on cooking, makeup and driving, but rarely answering the questions Alice really wants answered: Who is my father? What happened to him? How could you leave me? All Alice and her older brother, Will, know is what their great-aunt Aggy tells them: their mother moved away at age 17 and came back pregnant, with a baby in her arms. Over the course of the year, Alice uncovers secrets, unravels mysteries and finds that nothing and no one are what they seem. Her baseball-star brother runs away to see the Red Sox, Alice herself dallies with the school's bad boy and Pietrzyk allows the reader hints of why Alice's mother might have killed herself. Eccentric mothers and long-suffering daughters are a dime a dozen in recent fiction, but Pietrzyk paints a rich picture of life in rural Iowa, from summer jobs detassling corn to the suffocating force of conformity. As one Shelby housewife advises Alice, "Fitting in is so important. Everything is simpler that way."
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060554665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060554668
What did YOU find today?


itsJUSTme-wendy said...

Awwwww, this book sounds really good!

Vivienne said...

I would love to read more books set in the 70's as it basically covers the years of my childhood. I love the sound of this one. Great find.

Blodeuedd said...

Good find, and I really like the covers these days

Alayne said...

This is a great find, very interesting. Mine is at The Crowded Leaf.

Cat said...

That does sound good. I'll keep my eyes open for it.

avisannschild said...

This one sounds great and I love the cover!

Stephanie aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

This sounds really good! I am a child of the 70's, too.

Lisa said...

OMG!!!! My mom is from Shelby, Iowa! My grandparents lived there until they died. I have got to have this book.

Diane said...

I love coming of age stories; great find.

Dar said...

Great find. This sounds really good.

Connie said...

I thought this book was so charming! I'm glad you liked it, too.



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