Plummer, Louise Finding Daddy

ISBN 13: 9780385901130

Finding Daddy

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9780385901130: Finding Daddy
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MIRA KENT IS nearing her 16th birthday and wants to know more about a father she doesn't remember. Her mother tells her she has all his good qualities, but isn't specific. With nothing but a photo of her father, Mira wants more. She writes him imaginary notes:

Daddy, darling, where are you? I need you in my life. Aren't you curious about me? About school? I have a boyfriend named Dylan. Mom says you both made the decision during the divorce that you wouldn't be part of my life. It was easier, she says. It hasn't been easier for me. Look for me, dearest Daddy, and I'll look for you. I'll look until I find you.
From the Hardcover edition.

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About the Author:

Louise Plummer is also the author of the hilarious and highly praised The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman. She lives in New York City and Prince Edward Island.
From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Saturday
I miss my father, a strange thing to say, because I've never known him, never laid eyes on him. My mother and grandmother conspire to keep information about him to themselves. "You have all of his good qualities," Mom says from behind the stack of AP English papers. She is defined by her English-teacher objects: the green desk lamp, her antique reading glasses, the black fountain pen. I don't remember a school night when she wasn't writing in margins with that Waterman pen she received from my grandmother the night I was born. "You have his red hair, his ability to put words together, to draw, to appreciate beauty and silence." The pen is poised at her lips when she turns her head toward the window and the sound of a barking dog. "His seriousness." She turns back and looks at me directly. "Those compelling green eyes." She smiles.
"Except for the looks and the drawing, those sound like your gifts," I say. I sit against the sofa arm, my head resting on my raised knees.
"You think?" She pushes a strand of hair away from her eyes and returns to the papers. The hair falls back. She is growing it out and it will not stay put. My father's bad qualities seem suspended in the air between us. It is no use asking about them again. She will not tell, nor will my grandmother, who says, "He always loved my Belgian waffles."
So does the dog.
My mother says, "He's not someone we want in our lives," and leaves it at that. I was never part of that decision.
Once, in a moment when I had worn her down, she told me his first name: Ambrose. Not his last. Her name is the same as her mother's: Kent. As in Clark Kent. Only she is Charlotte Kent. My grandmother is Mirabella Kent (I call her Bella) and I am Mira. We are a matriarchal household. No basso profundos bellowing here. Our tensions are strictly female and since the three of us are "amiable"--I like that Jane Austen word--there is little conflict. It's boring.
So I miss my father the same way I miss a howling wind that forces a placid ocean into crushing waves, even though I've never seen it. I miss him like tiramasu and escargot and all the other exotic-sounding foods I've never eaten. What can I say? I just miss him.
Bella lets the caramel syrup drip from an oversized wooden spoon onto the Belgian waffles. As long as I can remember, she has fixed Belgian waffles on Saturday mornings, accompanied by berries, syrup (often chocolate), and whipped cream. She wears a Williams-Sonoma apron over a designer pantsuit, because she always has a couple of open houses on Saturday. She is a trillion-dollar real estate broker--Mirabella Kent and Associates. Her signs are posted in front of pricey homes all over the city. It's because of her that we live in upscale Federal Heights, an old tree-lined neighborhood in Salt Lake City.
My two best friends, Sarah Sullivan and Dylan Madsen--actually, he's my boyfriend now--and I are sitting at the kitchen table in our pajamas. This is an old tradition that goes back to seventh grade. They both live on the block and come over each Saturday still wearing their jammies. We brush our teeth but we don't fix our hair, so we look like a family. Bedraggled. I think Bella made up that rule. Now that Dylan and I are together I feel a little self-conscious looking so sloppy in front of him. Maude, our dog--think conventional fluffy white ball--begs at Bella's feet for bacon.
"Has anyone let Maude out this morning?" Bella asks.
"Not me," I say.
"She's probably peed in your office," Sarah wisecracks. "Twice."
"I let her out when I got here," Dylan says.
"You're too sexy for your shoes." Bella smooches
the air in Dylan's direction and he blushes. I blush a sympathy blush. She drops a bit of bacon for the dog. "That's it!" She shakes an index finger at the dog. As if.
"You're the sexy one," Dylan says, going on the offensive with Bella. "I have to take a cold shower when I leave this place. Can't stop thinking of you."
Bella doesn't turn her head. "I know that," she spits out. "You've had the hots for me for years."
Sarah heehaws. "It's love. L-O-V-E." She mimes the spelling across the table. "Everyone's in love." She flutters her eyelashes at Dylan and me.
"Give me a break," Dylan says.
I kick her foot under the table.
"Okay, we've got a stack here." Bella turns with a plate of waffles. "This one's for you, Sarah Smartlass," Bella says.
Sarah ogles the waffles and the choice of toppings and gushes, "I want you to adopt me. I'll even be your slave. Please, Bella. I'll do the paperwork."
Bella's laugh is low and sultry. At sixty-five, she really is the sexiest woman in our house. "There's no need to adopt you," she says. "You're here almost every day as it is. If you lived here officially you'd get bossed around. Ask Mira."
"You would," I said. "She's a witch."
"She is the angel of waffles," Dylan says. Bella has loaded his plate.
"Kiss-up," I say. He gives me the cutest look. I still can't believe we're actually a couple.
Bella sets a plate of waffles down in front of me. "There you go, Red." A reference to my hair.
"Witch!" I say.
"Red, Red, Red."
"Witch, Witch, Witch!" It's an old game and we both smirk.
With her mouth full, Sarah says, "See, now that's why I want you to adopt me. My mother never lets us joke around like that. She'd say, 'Stop calling each other names.' " She swallows. "No sense of humor."
"She's got to have a sense of humor living in your house. Your dad is the funniest guy I know," I say.
"My mother doesn't think so. She thinks he's a dork."
Dylan's lips form an O. "Oh, let's put that through the neighborhood rumor mill."
Sarah shrugs. "It's no secret. She's always saying she thought she married a thoracic surgeon, not Red Skelton."
"Who's Red Skelton?" I ask.
Bella releases a loud ha. She pries a waffle loose from the iron and onto a plate. "Your parents are both lovely people," she says, a half smile on her lips. We watch her swirl the caramel sauce with the wooden spoon. She is an artist. She spoons strawberries and cream onto the top and sets the plate on a tray. "Otherwise"--she leans her face up close to Sarah's--"they wouldn't have such a wonderful daughter--a daughter I would gladly adopt as my own." She swivels around, picks up the tray, and heads into the hallway. The dog follows her. "I'm taking this up to Charlotte," she says.
"The house is full of kiss-ups this morning," I yell after her.
"You could learn something from us," she yells back.
"Who is Red Skelton?" I ask Sarah, but before she can answer, the clock in the hall dings the half hour and Dylan is on his feet. "I've gotta go. I have to help my father paint my grandma's garage and I told him I'd be ready at eight-thirty, sharp." He takes his food with him. "I'll return the plate!" he yells, and he's out the front door. Then the door opens, and he calls, "You guys want a ride to the yearbook signing party tonight?"
Sarah and I yell yes in unison.
"Meet me out in front at seven," he calls, and the door shuts again. My mood falls a little with his sudden departure. I was hoping we could laze around this morning.
"Okay," I say to Sarah. "Now, who is Red Skelton?"
Her shoulders slump and she makes a face that says Duh. "Do I have to teach you everything about American popular culture?" She talks with her mouth full, which I will never get used to.
"Just tell me, okay? I don't need a lecture."
"Do you even know who Chubby Checker is?"
"Is it important?"
Her eyes roll heavenward. "Red Skelton is a comic from the fifties--he had a very popular television show called The--" She waits for me to finish.
I play along. "The Red Skelton Show?"
"Very good." Really, sometimes I'd like to punch her. "Anyway, he wore goofy clothes, talked with a lisp, and did a lot of fall-down stuff. My dad has all the DVDs of him, and my mom can't stand the guy." She sips orange juice. "He had red hair about the same color as yours."
I sit up then. "Maybe he's my father!" I say.
Sarah rolls her eyes. "Obsessive. It's all you talk about lately. You have a father fixation." Her eyes bug out at me.
I lower my voice. "Well, no one in this house will tell me anything about him."
"You have a picture of him in your room."
"What can I tell from a picture?" I lick whipped cream from my spoon. "They were divorced when I was three. Why did they divorce? Why are Mom and Bella so uncommonly sweet about him and so vague at the same time? Wouldn't that drive you mad?"
"I guess." She pulls a scrunchie out of her pocket and gathers her hair back. "But you never seemed worried about it before."
"I know. I guess I've just been wondering about it more lately, and when I ask a question, they're so mysterious it makes me curious. I don't even know his last name. Why can't they tell me his name?"
She leans forward and says in a stage whisper, "Maybe he's a criminal."
I nod. "I've thought of that."
Her dark hair is back in a ponytail now. "What about your birth certificate?"
"What about it?"
"His name would be on your birth certificate."
My jaw drops. "It would--"
"Duh--mine's in my baby book. Mom made a pocket for it, so it can come out when I need it--oh, oh, oh--" She bobs up and down. "You need it when you get your learner's permit! I remember. You ne...

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9780385730921: Finding Daddy

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ISBN 10:  0385730926 ISBN 13:  9780385730921
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2007
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