Sticklebacks and Snow Globes, by debut novelist B.A. Goodjohn, is set in a 1970s council-house estate just outside London, and captures a year in the life of Tot Thompson and the neighborhood kids. For an eight-year-old, Tot has a lot on her mind. She has epilepsy, which she personalizes by calling it "Kit-the-Fit". She never knows when "Kit-the-Fit" is going to strike; as such, she's constantly on guard. She doesn't know what to do about her fourteen-year-old sister Dorothy who has been acting strangely ever since she found herself a boyfriend. Her friend Keesal, an Indian boy, is being bullied. Another friend Stacey wants to be called David. There's a lot going on. But her biggest concern is her father, Donald, who wants to go to America to play the trumpet in his band. She wants to stop him going, so she decides to make a deal with God. She vows to catch seven sticklebacks (small scaleless fish) for seven Saturdays before sacrificing them - with a house brick - if God will stop her dad leaving. She's not your average kid. Oh, and she loves snow globes.
There are a lot of broken dreams in this novel. Tot's mother Elaine hates the fact that she lives in a council estate. She thinks she is better than that, and everyone else in the estate knows it. And then there's Gerald Damson who was a successful businessman - before he was bankrupted. Now, he too is in a place he never thought he'd be. Not to forget the neighborhood kids. Lilly O'Flannery thinks she knows all about the adult world, how it works, and how to work with it. She is in love with Nigel, and fails to see that she is being used. He promises her fish and chips, and dinners at restaurants, but his intentions are always doubtful. Lilly's trusting naivety is heartbreaking. Dorothy has joined the Girl Guides so she can get close to handsome venture scout Chris. When she does, she hasn't counted on the consequences, and Chris quickly loses interest when times get tough.
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"A fat, brown stickleback nosed the canal bank just below the surface. Tot stretched face down on the gravel tow-path. Hold my legs! she told the boy and edged the bamboo fishing net out slowly across the oily water. You can t chase a fish, she whispered. You have to decide where he wants to go, and then wait for him there. She held the net steady. The fish glided backwards an inch, turned once, then swam into the net s pink nylon mesh." Tot is good at watching, waiting and working things out. And there s a lot that demands close attention: her own epilepsy, an older sister who never wants to play anymore, a best friend who s changed her name to Roger, and a girl across the road with a star entry in the Stanley Close Spy Club notebook for doing it with a gypsy man. And then to crown it all, her dad has dreams of New Orleans. Sticklebacks and Snowglobes is a story of tangled destinies unravelled and made sense of by an eight-year-old girl called Tot, a child as yet untouched by hormones, and whose belief system is shored up by fishing nets, a healthy respect for exploding saints and faith in both the inherent goodness of people and in the way things are.About the Author:
B.A. Goodjohn (or Bunny Goodjohn) emigrated to the USA from the UK in 1999. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in various literary magazines, including The Texas Review, The Cortland Review and Wind Magazine, and in a number of anthologies. She now lives and writes within sight of Virginia's Blue Ridge and shares her space with a rabble of tomcats and a small flock of rescue hens.
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Book Description Permanent Press, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 1579621554
Book Description Permanent Press, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX1579621554
Book Description Permanent Pr Pub Co, 2007. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 192 pages. 8.50x5.50x0.75 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 1579621554
Book Description Permanent Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1579621554 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0772103
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97815796215511.0