Marjorie's Reviews > In Zanesville

In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
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Jul 03, 14

Read from June 30 to July 01, 2012

I"m reading this on the strength of Martha Ackmann's recommendation, and it does not disappoint! I'm about halfway through. I think that the strongest feeling that I have about it right now is how accurately it captures the reality of growing up in a community/neighborhood...you never know what is going on behind closed doors. The narrator's dad is an alcoholic. She babysits for the kids of neglectful, abusive parents. Every family has its own story and the stories are not always nice ones. School is a melting pot of kids who walk out of these homes every day and have to function in a community of kids and teachers who are also not always very nice to each other. Most of us, as teenagers, just accepted that that was how things were. We knew that one girl's mother was mentally ill, that one girl must have (in retrospect) been sexually abused because of how she acted out constantly in an overtly sexual way...We all could have probably written a similar book, but Beard could really single out the details that make such a story real and compelling.

Now that I have finished it, I have a bit more to say. It is a remarkable piece of writing. That is its main strength, I think. There are sentences and paragraphs that are gems. You really feel as though you are inside the mind of the narrator. She is subject to so many pressures and feelings that all ring do true...tenderness for her little brother, anxiety brought on by her father, being tormented by her sister, feeling like an outsider among her schoolmates, being subjected to the bureaucracy of public school, being inspired by one good teacher...the list goes on. Don't look for a fast moving plot. But that's the point - the life of a young teenage girl goes from one tedious, angst-ridden incident to the next.
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Reading Progress

07/03/2014 marked as: currently-reading
07/03/2014 marked as: read

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