Thursday, January 5, 2012

REVIEW: Ten Miles Past Normal

You know that stage you go through when you read the Little House books or Anne of Green Gables and decide you want to live on a farm, but your parents say "That's nice, dear, but no way," and eventually you grow out of it? Well, in Frances O'Roark Dowell's Ten Miles Past Normal, Janie Gorman's parents actually went for it. Except then she eventually grew out of it, and they didn't, so now she's stuck on a farm as she starts high school and tries to have a normal life. My favorite thing about this book was how it recognized both that it's fine to be different AND that it's fine to want to fit in sometimes.

Other good things it had: a very different-than-usual love interest and a perfect (and unusual) resolution to that part of the story. A painfully realistic portrayal of the way it suddenly gets difficult to deal with your family and friends when you're about 14. A look at what happens when all those adorable kids of mommy bloggers start growing up. There are some unconventional role models and some interesting Civil Rights history thrown in. And there's a character who says this:
"I watch the History Channel while I knit. It's World War I week. I've decided that to truly understand World War II, you must have all the facts about World War I. And by tonight at ten o'clock, I shall."
So, basically, I HAD to love this book. It's a quick read, just over 200 pages, and makes for a lovely evening or - in my case - afternoon home sick from work, reading and wearing pajamas and drinking tea.

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