Monday, July 19, 2010
Format: audio - 4 hrs, 160 page equivalent
Subject: teenagers, parenting, Catholic schools
Setting: Baton Rouge Louisiana
Genre: fiction - epistolary in form
Source: public library download
There were several surprises for me when I started reading this book. For some reason, I thought this was going to be a book about letters from a father serving in Vietnam to his daughter. But, it turns out the entire book is one long letter written by a MOTHER to her 15 year old daughter who has just run-away. Mom wants her daughter to know that she understands how it feels to be 15 and misunderstood by the world.
The mother gives us what is really her story of growing up, of living in a Catholic girls boarding school where she was sent by her parents to avoid having to go to an integrated school, and to get her away from her boyfriend. How her small acts of rebellion were a constant source of embarrassment to her parents, and a constant thorn in the side of many of her teachers. Having gone to a Catholic girls school myself during that same time period, I was able to relate to the story and particularly to her characterization of some of the nuns.
The boyfriend eventually goes to Vietnam and there are letters from him to Mom, which Mom seems able to recreate verbatim after 30 some years.
It is actually an endearing and poignant story that pulls the reader in and gently sets us down at the end. A lovely short read. Perhaps the biggest surprise was seeing how well a man could write from a mother's point of view. Recommended.
Posted by Tina at 9:02 AM