Barb Middleton's Reviews > Turtle in Paradise

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
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Feb 13, 12

bookshelves: historical
Read in June, 2011

Eleven-year-old Turtle has not had an easy life being raised by her scatterbrained, single mom during the Depression. Her soot-colored, grey-eyes see the world for what it is while her mother has had as many different jobs as boyfriends. Turtle copes by being tough and cynical. When her mother gets a job as a housekeeper for a rich lady that doesn’t like children, Turtle is shipped off to her aunt whom she has never met in Key West, Florida. Turtle learns to love her new, extended family and have adventures with her cousins and grows to love her crabby grandmother who has a hard protective turtle shell like her.

Turtle sounds older than 11 and is quite funny using sarcasm. She’s very direct and mature for her age, but then she’s the one who keeps her mom together; not the other way around. I can see some readers thinking Turtle isn’t believeable. I enjoyed the character and thought it was believeable considering the two live in poverty and Turtle has probably been taking care of herself at an age earlier than most children. I didn’t find the boys’ diaper gang believeable. Although it was funny, I can’t see a group of boys taking care of babies. It is more likely that they’d be down at the docks with the boats. I’m not sure why the author makes it obvious who the biological father is in the story to the reader but not Turtle. And then at the end there is no resolution with the father. But these are minor issues in a well-told, fun story.
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