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Singing With the Top Down
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Singing With the Top Down

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  234 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
At a time in the 1950s when America is a little more innocent, and everyone believes in a brighter tomorrow, two children and their flamboyant aunt head toward California in a Buick Skylark convertible...and share adventures both funny and poignant that teach them the true meaning of family.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by NAL Trade (first published 2006)
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Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the things I love about reading through the library (from Z to A, at least one book by every author), besides my husband thinking at times I'm insane, is unexpected finds like "Singing with the Top Down". In previous days when I browsed jackets, and decided from reviews/word of mouth/cover art whether a book was worth my time, I might have passed this up as a fluffy "chick-lit" book. And honestly, 10 pages in I thought my first impression was justified.
But then I got to know Pauly, and
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
Pauly and Buddy's parents died in a terrible carnival accident in 1955. Outcast Pauly, at 13, was the mature, stable person in the family. Her mother obviously suffered from depression, and her father, although he loved them all very much, wasn't responsible with having steady employment and paying the bills. When Pauly wasn't defending her younger brother (a polio survivor), she was making sure the rent was paid and tried to keep money from being squandered. Once their parents were buried, it w ...more
Hope Decker
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-reads
Loved, loved, loved this book!

After a freak carnival accident, two children are orphaned and embark on the journey of a lifetime. In this book, you can choose your family, and that's exactly what these kids did. At times I felt like I was reading Steinbeck, and at other times, I felt like I was reading Harper Lee, and yet at other times, I was reading Debrah Williamson, an author with a style all her own.
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a gem I happened to wander upon while perusing the library stacks. Truly a wonderful read. I highly recommend you try it. And get this - - - a happy ending!
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Someone called it "warm, witty, and wise." I agree.
B. Michele
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
If there's anything I love, it's narratives of children in adult situations. Walk Two Moons, The Age of Miracles, Everything on a Waffle, all books that offer a fresh perspective of time-worn stories for adults. Singing with the Top Down is no exception. Williamson spins the been-there-seen-that story of the youthful aunt who takes in her orphan niece and nephew after a tragic accident kills their parents. First, it's set in the nostalgia of the 50's, with California dreams no less. It's a comin ...more
This is book was one of many checked out from the library when I was looking for some light summer reading. Although it was a quick read, some of the topics were heavy, but it was certainly reading I enjoyed.
Set in 1955, there were a few references to movie stars that I didn't quite get, but the story was really a timeless one.
Young Pauly Mahoney and her brother, Buddy, find themselves orphaned when their parents are killed in a freak accident. When nearly all of their relatives try pawning Paul
Umarie Serrant
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book and placed it back into the shelf more time that i remember. Mainly because i dont like reading placed so way back. usually when i do this too a book, its always simply amazing when i give in and read it. my favorite novels are those with young insightful protagonists. Although, that doesnt mean the protoganists are always my favourite. i just adored Buddy and Aunt Nora.
That scene in the bathroom where nora and pauly came close to being raped and aunt nora was willing to
Lindsey Sparks
Nov 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I picked this up because it partially takes place in Oklahoma. Judging from the cover and the overdone plot of a selfish aunt taking in her niece and nephew and presumably realizing how sad and lonely and meaningless her child free life was, I wasn't expecting much. However, I ended up enjoying this.
A lot of the plot is a bit implausible when taken together but you meet a fun cast of characters and the core characters are well developed and all grow thought the story. It's a coming of age story
Jun 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I truly loved this book. Pauly Mahoney is the 12 year old progtagonist and she tells her story with humor, sadness, and spunk. The story is about what family really means. Is it the family you're born with or can you make your own? Pauly's quest for "the answer" to everything is such an enduring quality to me. I like the fact that the characters have such a broad age range as well. Buddy is eight and Tyb is 70 something so you get many different points of view. It would be great to read a sequel ...more
Debra Bufton
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much, I read it in a day!(Of course, that's not terribly unusual for me, but I was in the middle of a graduate research paper at the time.)Sweet, sad and touching book about an 11-year old girl who, for a variety of reasons, has the responsible role in her family. When her parents die in a freak roller-coaster accident, life gets even more turned upside down. The majority of the book is set in a Buick Skylark convertible in which Pauly (the main character, her brother, and t ...more
Ashlee Foster
Apr 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked it, but it wasn't at all what I was expecting. It was a bit odd at times, but in the end it made up for it. I personally would have liked the book to continue on a little longer. I sort of felt that after I warmed up to the characters, the book was over. It was a cute read, but having her novel "paper hearts" as one of my all time favorites, this one let me down. Debrah still holds a place in my heart though.
Tina Dalton
Sep 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Tina by: Wendi Miller
Shelves: fluff
I'm a bit affronted that one of the reviewers compared the heroine of the story to Scout Finch. That is a huge comparison and I'm sorry to say that she just did not live up to those expectations. It's an interesting story about how our families are not only those we're born into, but sometimes we create families with other loved ones we meet throughout our lives. It was pretty fluffy, a nice feel-good story without much depth. I enjoyed reading it at a leisurely pace as the mood struck me :)
Sep 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adult women
Recommended to Patty by: Abbey
I really like this author's books. Thank you Abbey for telling me about this!
This is another hard to put down book. Very well developed characters with realistic personalities and foibles. Interesting plot and story line. I could really relate with the main character in learning to trust others again and opening herself up to love.
I don't think I'd be comfortable having my daughter read this because of a rather graphic description of molestation in one part.
Apr 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookcrossed
I really liked this book, and I'm happy that I was able to snag it from EllyMae's shelf.
This is one of those books that you read and just enjoy. Pauly is an interesting young lady, and I'm sure that there are more of her stories to be told (and there are, according to the author interview at the end).
I loved the national parks aspect of the book, because I've done a similar trip one summer and enjoyed it.
Feb 29, 2008 rated it liked it
It's totally light reading and a little fluffy but I liked it anyway. Started reading it before and finished after I finished Glass Castle so it was needed because Glass Castle was quite a bit heavier. But it has some similar themes, girl who grew up in a family that didn't have money and she's trying to be the grown up one because her parents aren't playing that role.
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In a world recently encompassed by despair, this book is a nice reminder that there can be many an uplifting story. Truly a joy to read and the characters are incredibly loveable. Anyone looking for a heroin who finds the hope and love she deserves, like many young women out there, Pauly is the one for you.
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What do you get when you mix four unique characters, sadness, tragedy, laughter, suspense and mystery? The end result is a truly wonderful story about Pauley and her brother Buddy's unexpected journey into love. After reading the last page and had to close the book, I felt like I was leaving a good friend behind.
Nov 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is another book I just randomly picked up at the library. It was a sweet story and I liked how it was told from the point of view of a young girl. Pauly's parents are killed in a horrible accident and she is unsure what will become of her and her young brother. An aunt comes to their rescue and have a crazy adventure on their way back to California.
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is an ok book about two children whose parents die they end up living with an aunt. I had a hard time really getting into the book. I finished it but just because my OCD makes me read cover to cover.
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: whomever
Recommended to Racheltd by: mom
it was an okay book. my mom recommended it to me.
it starts with the 2 kids parents dying and the aunt taking the kids back with her to california. some mishaps happen along the way there...and the kids learn to trust their aunt.
happy ending.
Oct 29, 2011 rated it really liked it

A very sweet though improbable story, likeable well-defined characters, and amazing insights about life. I was cheering for the success of this newly formed family throughout. It was a feel good book, perfect for summer reading.
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Another great find at the second hand bookstore. What fun. The characters were endearing, the time period simple (the 50's) and the story moved along quickly with a few twists and turns along the way.
Lisa Ahronian
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book - very uplifting. Just a feel-good book.
Sep 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
01/10/2008 Noble Readers Book Discussion
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Love, love, loved it - too bad it is not available in the Mid-Hudson Library System.
Christine Dooley-sheehan
Oct 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Loved this book.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who would want light summer reading with a happy ending
Cindy Riville
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! A feel good happy ending book!! A great book club discussion. I recommend it.
Tara Lewis
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up on a whim at Half Price Books and loved it! My mom and aunt read it after me and also loved it! A great voice.
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A native Oklahoman, Debrah Morris was born near Will Rogers's birthplace. She grew up in Claremore, Oklahoma. She comes to storytelling naturally. As a child, she was a wide-eyed and appreciative audience when her grandparents told colorful tales of their Cherokee and Irish ancestors in the old Indian Territory. Her love of the past was sparked by accounts of the Trail of Tears, outlaws and lawmen ...more
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