This was an interesting story of a woman breaking free from the expected path and following her heart. I really liked how Doreen felt she needed color in her life, while the expected path was black and white with only a few shades of gray. Then she meets Ty, who came to New York in search of color. How could she possibly resist?
The spirits mentioned in the blurb are actual spirits. The back of the book states that they are ghosts, so it won't be spoiling anything to reveal that Doreen has been living with the trio for years and they are not happy with her choices. I felt that they were a little unnecessary, but guess they symbolized the weight of her heritage or somesuch. I just found them annoying. Her father isn't too happy with his new son-in -law either, but Doreen believes that she made the right decision and has no regrets.
I kept forgetting that this book was set before the proliferation of cell phones, and wondered why on earth Ty would carry a beeper. Hasn't been that long since you had to hunt down a pay phone if you wanted to call someone away from home, so I was amused by how I'm now taking it for granted that everyone has a cell, including fictional characters! *L*
The penguin in the title refers to the affectionate nickname Doreen and her friends have given her parent's generation (as they sort of resemble penguins - short, balding, and waddle when they walk). Her parents, as well as her aunt and uncle, were all Holocaust survivors. Their lives, as well as their children's lives, were all shaped by this event. The ghosts are also from the Holocaust, and keep reminding Doreen that she has "obligations" as a child of survivors.
Gave this a 3/5 rating as I enjoyed the book, but did not love it. The writing was good and I had no complaints about the plot, but I felt that overall it needed a little more polish. This is Kay's first book and I think that she has a strong future, as the story was compelling. I loved Doreen and all of the people in her life. Could have done without the ghosts, but they were still interesting.