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A story set in Louisiana during the Depression finds young Nissa struggling to come to terms with her free-spirited mother's abandonment, a situation that is complicated by her father's determination to move on and pursue a new relationship.
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A. LaFaye (the "A" is for Alexandria) is the author of Worth, for which she received the Scott O'Dell Award, as well as The Year of the Sawdust Man, Nissa's Place, The Strength of Saints, Edith Shay, Strawberry Hill, and Dad, in Spirit. She teaches at California State University at San Bernardino during the school year and at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, in the summer. She lives in Cabot, Arkansas.From Publishers Weekly:
LaFaye's beautifully written first novel is filled with poignant insights into a hurt child's fragile psyche and resilient spirit. Set in a small, early-1930s Louisiana town, the story is narrated by 11-year-old Nissa Bergen, who is urgently trying to gather the broken pieces of her life after her mother abandons the family. Nissa's desperation borders on unnerving, but LaFaye lightens the story with Nissa's memories of her mother's refreshingly candid and whimsical nature. Nissa's father, a quiet, gentle man who has obviously been a parent to both Nissa and his wife, explains that Heirah Rae left because he couldn't make her happy. At first Nissa accepts this, but as she goes deeper into her pain and anger, she sees that her mother's special qualitiesAher free-spirited nature and unmitigated nonconformityAare the same ones that have brought reproach on the family from the community. LaFaye's poetic images paint a clear picture of impetuous Heirah Rae, a woman capable of both growing gloriously delicate purple roses and burning a whole garden to the ground ("Like the fire, Mama jumped from one place to the next. Papa was worried about the house, but she flew right to a whole other idea. She planted her hands on her hips... then said, 'I could also pack up and leave.'" Readers will likely yearn for days similar to the best ones Nissa shared with her mother, when they chased butterflies, gazed at stars on their roof and danced in fancy dresses on Friday nights. But they will also applaud Nissa's courage in facing the truth about her mother's lack of responsibility and her father's need for a stable home. This bittersweet, moving debut reveals a writer capable of plumbing the depths of a painful situation to surface triumphantly with compassion and humor. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 7271
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1998. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0689815131
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Pu, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110689815131
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0689815131