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The Girl from Charnelle
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The Girl from Charnelle

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  193 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
It's 1960 in the Panhandle town of Charnelle, Texas—a year and a half since sixteen-year-old Laura Tate's mother boarded a bus and mysteriously disappeared. Assuming responsibility for the Tate household, Laura cares for her father and three brothers and outwardly maintains a sense of calm. But her balance is upset and the repercussions of her family's struggles are reveal ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published February 20th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published April 1st 2006)
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I just can't rate this book. Here's what I can say: I'm glad I'm finished with it.

I was interested in how the book turned out, mostly because I was waiting on Laura and John to get caught, one of the older family members who knew about the affair to do something about it, or for someone to put an end to it. As I put the book down each evening, I felt scuzzy about even reading it. I mean, who writes (or reads) a book about a married man in his 30s carrying on with a 16 year old girl for a year (
Apr 15, 2008 Nan rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I HATED this book. It received a lot of positive reviews and was described as a coming-of-age story set in the Texas panhandle. I don't know who the hell's definition of coming-of-age involves statutory rape, some good old fashion date rape, and a totally implausible lead character. Laura is 16 and has filled her mother's role in cooking, cleaning, and providing child care to her 3 brothers after her mother and older sister abandon the family. So, logically, she decides to have a sexual relation ...more
Sara Strand
Jul 14, 2012 Sara Strand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The quick and dirty of this book is that it focuses around a family of 5 kids, specifically the middle child, Laura Tate. The mother leaves- which is the catalyst for lots of things in Laura's life specifically her relationship with a married man. One she babysits for no less. But what is amazing about this book is that you really kind of root for Laura and John, even though you know that it's wrong. You sympathize with Laura because at the tender age of 16 she doesn't really understand that eve ...more
Crash Queen (Whimsy and Stardust)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it
First of all, let me say that I do not condone the behaviors in this book. In fact, they made me squirm! That being said, this book is NOT about the right and wrong of the behaviors! If that is all you focus on, you will think it an abomination! This book centers on sixteen-year-old, Laura. It explores how the choices of the "adults" (and I have to really stretch to call them that) in her life ultimately funnel down and affect her. You will find yourself wanting to protect this girl as you witne ...more
Feb 02, 2013 Leslie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine a baseball game in which the pitcher throws the same pitch to every batter for all 9 innings. Imagine a concert in which the orchestra plays the same note from beginning to end. Imagine a novel in which an older man makes love (rapes, actually) a teenage girl from the beginning of the book to the end of the book. OK< that's why i gave the book one star.
Well, there was way too much detail in this book about sex between a teenage girl and a man twice her age for my taste -- and the scene between that teenage girl and the man's wife near the end of the story was something out of a terrible movie. I'm giving it three stars instead of only two, however, because the scene with Mrs. Tate and the tree was so intriguing as was her reaction to the birth of Greta's pups and because most of the characters were well crafted until Mrs Letig's transition int ...more
Sep 29, 2008 Andrea rated it really liked it
I won this book online on a blog that I had visited, and to be honest, that is why I chose to read this book -- it was free, and it was on my bookshelf. The book was an easy read, and I enjoyed reading it. I found myself having a hard time putting it down. It was one of those books where I wanted to get to the end of each chapter and then start immediately on the next just to see what would happen next. Laura Tate, the main character in the book, has an affair with a married man, and at times, I ...more
Len Joy
Jan 09, 2016 Len Joy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A sixteen year old girl has an affair with a man twice her age in a small Texas town circa 1960. The story is told from the perspective of the girl. As readers we can see farther down the road than this girl from Charnelle and we know it can’t end well.

Cook does a great job of capturing small town Texas Panhandle at the dawn of the 60s. The characters are believably flawed. He makes us care about all of them – even the guy, who of course should have known better.

Apr 03, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting that some people are giving this book a negative review because of the subject matter but you know what? Situations described in the book are real life and it's completely plausible that a girl in Laura's situation could get involved in. I do wish these had been a smaller focus on the sex, but it is what it is.
Jan 07, 2015 Vivian rated it really liked it
I did not love this book. The relationship between the main character and her "lover" made me want to scream. What was amazing though was that although this book was written by a male author, he truly captured the angst of young love in a pubescent girl's life. This book really hit on the concept of the vulnerability of a young motherless girl who just desperately wanted to be loved. The reality that a grown man would take advantage of this need is horrifyingly spot on. Could not put this one do ...more
Charlene Patton
May 12, 2016 Charlene Patton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't really review this book as I stopped right at the point where the 16 year old makes a pass for a 30-something married man whom she's babysitting for. Ugh. Scuzzy and disgusting.
Jun 12, 2016 LuAnn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book but I feel it is unfinished. There are so many ways it could have ended, many issues left unexplored. Did the author tire of his storylines?
May 14, 2016 Kathyg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good Read

I liked the book. Nothing more, nothing less. There are always consequences to the decisions we make. Hard to understand at 16...
Apr 17, 2016 Rlh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story

Had to read it twice! Very interesting heart felt story about coming of age and learning to live with the choices that you make.
Apr 04, 2016 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like a 3.5
May 24, 2007 Briynne rated it really liked it
Sent to me by my good friend Jo. I had never heard of it, but I trusted her taste and it looked interesting, so I tried it. Really, really good. About a teenage girl who has a long affair with a married man who is friends with her father, as she tries to take care of her family after her mother deserts them at the beginning of the story. Good ending as well.
Apr 10, 2009 Abbey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking story about a young girl whose mother runs off and leaves her and her three brothers with their father. She has to assume the role of mother in the family and thus starts to see herself as older than she truly is. In the midst of all of this she begins an affair with a married man. It is a story that leaves you sad but it is worth reading.
Heather Bieber
May 13, 2015 Heather Bieber rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book partly because I lived in Amarillo for 11 years and could therefore relate to all of the panhandle references, but it is also just a good coming of age story. It's worth the read.
Jan 29, 2013 Lindsaylu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There were some harsh scenes in this novel, but also moments of pure tenderness. It was a wild ride, that's for sure. I really enjoyed reading it.
Jul 02, 2008 Anita rated it it was ok
While I got a real feel for the book and I am sure the writing would be considered excellent, there was a major part I found disturbing.
16 yr old has affair with married man in 1960's. Hard to get into but hard to put down. Didn't like ending.
Aug 18, 2007 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had to read this for school. Kenny is one of my instructors. The dog scene is especially delicious.
Mar 15, 2011 Rosie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very good

Carrie Phinney
Carrie Phinney marked it as to-read
Jul 26, 2016
Jami Connors
Jami Connors rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2016
Heather is currently reading it
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C. rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2016
Cecelia Michael
Cecelia Michael rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2016
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