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Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  16 reviews
About the Book: Winner
Anne Powers Fiction Book Award
Best Novel of 2010 by a Wisconsin writer
Council for Wisconsin Writers

Emma Starkey is a spunky little girl trying hard to be charitable and virtuous. But her calculated attempts have a way of backfiring with tumultuous consequences in this poignant story of small-town life in 1920s Kansas. As Emma's cranky grandmother obse
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Published October 29th 2010 by (first published October 25th 2010)
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Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
I read many reviews stating that this novel reminds them of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or To Kill a Mockingbird. True, Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows is a coming of age novel set during the 1920s when abdominal men wore white sheets and hoods. Kansas and other states weren't immune. And how could I not have cried for the Grubbs, especially little Roberta? In my mind this novel resembled a Carson McCullers novel. A little girl's heartache, struggling to understand the people in her small world. Was t ...more
You know a book is good when you're sad because you've finished it. This book reminded me a lot of "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" as it's told from the eyes of a young girl and follows the Starkey family (as well as neighboring families) through 1920's Kansas.

It was hard to put this book down (even at 1 a.m) and I found myself hoping there would be a sequel book someday.
A bit of Scout, a bit of Ramona Quimby and a whole lot of fun. Travel back in time to a small town Kansas,where childhood is fraught with not just the usual trials and tribulations.
What a great story! I couldn't put it down.
Douglas Armstrong's "Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows" was the kind of book you stay up too late at night reading because you can't put it down. I finished the book in a week's worth of stolen moments in the busy holiday season. Watching the plot unfold through young Emma's eyes and feeling her struggles to make sense of right and wrong in the gray areas between the late 1920's small town black and white world made this novel really ring true to me. While the story is hers alone, her coming of age i ...more
Enjoying this book. It reads like a memoir. It takes place in the 1920's. Discusses a family and its inter-relationships. A nice read that "takes you back." Quick.... easy to put down and pick up. Didn't knock my socks off, but found myself thinking about it and anxious to get back to the story. Good book -definitely worth reading.
This is a first novel by a MALE newspaper reporter, editorial write, columnist, and film critic and written from the point of view of a young girl growing up in the 1920's. He credits his sister and daughter for guidance on creating Emma's voice.
Beth Jaworski
Loved this book. Moving story beautifully told. A quick read also. This is good because once you start reading this book, it is hard to stop.
Sharon Lewis Merritt
I do enjoy these sort of folksy, slice of life, mockingbird-style books. This one is certainly well-written but it does lack a story. The only real event happens in the very end and at that point it felt a little anti-climactic.

However, I give Douglas Armstrong kudos for writing from the perspective of a young girl. I did stay with it because even though Emma was a bit mature for her age, I enjoyed the depiction of her family life and pictured everything clearly in my head.
A growing up story about the Starkey family of Corucopia Kansas. Special focus on Emma who is actually telling the story. We also encounter the Drummond family who come to Kansas from Detroit to live in the same neighborhood as Emma's family. As I read I grew to appreciate the child Emma and the things she went through. Interesting plot twists but nothing earth shattering. A little sad in retrospect but a good read in the end.
This coming-of-age story felt disjointed, like a series of anecdotes strung together. That's not to say that the anecdotes weren't enjoyable, but the book seemed to lack an overarching plot structure. It seemed almost like a faint echo of "To Kill a Mockingbird," (she even calls her father Thad) but with a focus on the harm a teenage girl can wreak on a community rather than on racism.
I don't remember where this was recommended to me, but I suffered through it hoping for a spark. Never saw it. I guess it's trying to be quaint or folksy. Having recently re-read To Kill a Mockingbird made it that much more obvious how much this book failed to captivate, to educate or to say anything really memorable.
I think Douglas Armstrong is a talented writer; it can't be easy to write in the voice of a little girl. I just thought it was a little light weight. There were hints all along that something was going to happen, but I think it was fairly predictable and so I lost momentum with it.
Judypie Molnar
Having just finished another "coming of age" story about two young girls, I was a little sick of reading about the lives of eleven year olds. I didn't do this on purpose! Easy, quick read.
Story of a young girl coming of age in small town Kansas in the 1920's. Emma Armstrong's son is the author and that is her picture on the cover. My copy is signed.
"coming of age" story. I liked this book. If you haven't already read several similar stories then add a 4th star.
Hayley Elliott
Hayley Elliott marked it as to-read
Aug 15, 2015
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Jun 16, 2015
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Award-winning author Douglas Armstrong has been a newspaper reporter, editorial writer, columnist, and film critic. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, from Ellery Queen to Boys' Life. Born in Kansas, Armstrong now lives in Wisconsin. He is married and the father of four. "Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows" is his first novel.
More about Douglas Armstrong...
War stamps of the Allies, 1914-1920 : an historical record La Empresa Clickeable

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