Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Review - Rainy Lake by Mary Francois Rockcastle

From Library Journal:

In this wonderfully fresh coming-of-age story set against the social upheavals of the 1960s, a family so full of promise at the beginning ends up fragmented and bitter. With her brother and parents, young Danny spends every summer at Rainy Lake in the old log house her architect father has transformed into a summer house. Danny and her best friend pass idyllic summers swimming, boating, reading, and going to country club dances, even as her father's heavy drinking threatens to tear the family apart. As Danny secretly nurtures her forbidden love for Billy Dove, the son of a white father and a black mother, her radical college-student brother takes a strong stand against the Vietnam War. Rockcastle flawlessly depicts the final argument about the war and respect for authority between Danny's brother and her ranting, drunken father-an argument that leads to tragedy. While the author's affectionate look at adolescent experiments with tanning lotions that turn the skin orange lend humor, this is ultimately an authentic, moving portrayal of a family. Highly recommended.

My Thoughts:

This book easily fits into one of my favorite genres, Coming-of-Age. I absolutely loved this story! I could relate to Danny, the main character. She and her family spend every summer at Rainy Lake. She spends time with her girlfriends, she joins the swim team, and loves to fish. She is twelve years old at the beginning of the novel, and eighteen when it ends. During that time she experiences so many things, including her first love. The time setting of this novel is the 1960's, during the Vietnam War....a simpler time but painful as well. Danny's brother Bryan is a strong war protester and butts heads with his father on war and many other issues. When tragedy strikes Danny's family, she must step into the spotlight and suffer through emotions that are foreign to her. This is a strong, compassionate and tender story that grabbed a hold of my heart and didn't let go.

~When I visit Rainy Lake now, it amazes me how little things have changed. The Cyclone fence, the sand, the lifeguard chair tipped on its side like the husk of a primeval animal. The water is sibilant and constant, the smell so raw that I can close my eyes and there I am - twelve years old again, straining to finish my twenty-five laps.~pg. 278

Photobucket Very Good!

  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155597242X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555972424


Priya Parmar said...

this sounds wonderful. the title is beautiful.

Missy B. said...

Priya: It is a wonderful story...I highly recommend it!

Kristen said...

I have this one sitting on my tbr shelves (it's probably been there since it came out). Good to see it was so good and it reminds me to pull it down and get to it sometime soon.

Missy B. said...

Kristin: It is a quick enjoyable read....You will like it!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This one sounds like something I'll love. I've added it to my list.

Thanks, Missy.

Diane said...

This sounds good! I had not heard of it previously, so thanks.

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Missy -

Thanks for recommending this book to me on Goodreads.

Would you say it would fit for the Vietnam war challenge?

What a brilliant cover!


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