This Is Graceanne's Book: A Novel

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9780312205973: This Is Graceanne's Book: A Novel

A poignant and even thrilling story of two extraordinary children who are extraordinary human beings, told with great perceptiveness and sensitivity by nine-year-old Charlie Farrand

Charlie's sister Graceanne is only twelve years old in 1960, but she is well known in Cranepool's Landing, Missouri. She has the highest IQ in her school and the most creative misbehavior record. She's the star of the junior girls' softball team and a thorough rebel. Although she and her older sister, Kentucky, tease their younger brother roughly, he admires her enormously--especially after he secretly reads the notebooks he finds hidden in the springs of her bed. They make up "Graceanne's Book"--a marvelous outpouring of overt and disguised emotion in the form of an ongoing tale. From them and from his growing bond with Graceanne herself he learns about a spirit that cannot be broken, a mind that remains independent, and a heart that welcomes genuine connections wherever they are found.

When their father slips out of the picture and their mother, Edie, must move with the three children to a poor and mostly black neighborhood, it is typical of Graceanne that she defies southern prejudice to become best friends with the black girl next door. But Edie, desperately on the edge of poverty and pathetically concerned with how the world sees her, finds this one more frustration to take out by physically abusing her daughter. The author penetrates the world of a small Missouri town forty years ago with the kind of detail that makes a setting come alive, and the Mississippi River holds a genuine place in the cast of characters. This Is Graceanne's Book is an Our Town for the 1960s--a wonderfully human story that will move readers both by the characters' hard lives and the stubbornness with which they weave hope and spirit into those lives.

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About the Author:

P.L. Whitney lives in New Jersey.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

"Graceanne was upstairs in the Green Measles Room. She wouldn't be going to school in the afternoon because she was "poorly." And we all knew why.

The older kids decided...to move on when a Champion for Eternity was finally crowned. Of course, my twelve-year-old sister Graceanne--braving the hellfire that my mother would shower on her when she was found--never heard the word "champion" without her ears standing out from her head. She had kept us all out past ten o'clock at night earlier in the week, until, scared out of our wits, we gave up.

...Edie called the Sheriff and the army engineers and the Flood Relief Committee and stayed up all night praying. Graceanne didn't come in for two days, and we learned that she had been holed up in the flooded basement of the school the whole time.

...The big flooded classroom downstairs at the school was for many years called the Graceanne Farrand Memorial Pool, in respectful acknowledgment of her achievement--long after the water was finally pumped out by the army engineers."

--from This Is Graceanne's Book

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P. L. Whitney
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