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Miller's Valley
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Miller's Valley > Question #4: The Sixties

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Miller's Valley takes place in the 1960s. If you lived through that time, how well does Anna Quindlen bring the era to life? Does the novel describe things that you were fond of, or things that you're glad have changed?

Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
The picture of childhood that Quindlen paints is evocative of a simpler time. I think she would have been a teenager in the 60s, so she lived through it all. Her description of Mimi selling corn with Donald at the end of the driveway certainly contrasts with the more hectic lives we lead today. It's hard to imagine children being patient enough to sell corn all day, without at least having a screen nearby to help them pass the time.

I've read in Quindlen's non-fiction that one of her favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird. She loves Scout, and believes the book "is all about Scout," not Atticus. "Scout is totally real and totally imperfect," she says in Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of "To Kill a Mockingbird". As I read Miller's Valley, I couldn't help but think that Mimi was Quindlen's Scout - a bit of a rough-and tumble tomboy who was smart, determined, and strong.

Family taboos would have been a bigger deal in the 60s too. The fact that the family didn't discuss Ruth's problems or Mimi's abortion were very believable.

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