Thursday, October 9, 2008

Little Audrey by Ruth White

"It is a golden day in May 1948."

The abstract is hidden because it may contain spoilers. If you would like to read the full summary, simply use your cursor to highlight the next few lines and it will magically appear.

Abstract: In 1948, eleven-year-old Audrey lives with her father, mother, and three younger sisters in Jewell Valley, a coal mining camp in Southwest Virginia, where her mother still mourns the death of a baby, her father goes on drinking binges on paydays, and Audrey tries to recover from the scarlet fever that has left her skinny and needing to wear glasses.

Publisher: Farrar Strauss Giroux, 146 pages


Mary said...

This book exceeded all my expectations. The characters all rang true, the family dynamics were believable, the use of a child’s perspective was right on target, and the overall atmosphere of the book was appropriate for the subject matter. This book has moved way up on my list of “possibles” for serious recognition this year.

And… I thought the picture on the cover was GREAT!

Anonymous said...

This is a powerful, hopeful, and wonderful book. But it didn't strike me as outstanding.

lisarenea said...

This was not a favorite. I never developed a true feel for the secondary characters. This seemed like a book designed more for reminiscing adults than for children. For me, the majority of the story felt like listening to long stories of recollections about people I do not know (think family reunion).

The book was written from the perspective of the child and told in a conversational manner, which felt perfect for the story. Most of the sentence structure and word choices were natural. I could read it and hear the soft southern accent of the speaker without it seeming forced. However, the occasional use of misspelled words to push the dialect was too forced and awkward (for example "worsh"). I could not get past this -- it was just too glaring. I don't have a problem with "worsh" - as an Oklahoma girl, I may even say it that way from time to time. But, it did not fit with the rest of the writing and distracted me from the story.

I do have to say that Virgil’s creative way of handling the bullies dare was lovely! While it would be hard for me to suggest this book overall, I would love to have kids read that section.

Teresa said...


I agree with Lisarenea about "worsh" clunking in the text. As did "setting" at the table, which made me wonder (for a few seconds, but enough to take me from the story) why they were setting the table after they had already eaten.

What a terrible thing it must be to know that you have a better life because your dad died. I hope Audrey wasn't consumed with guilt, but based on Ruth's characterization/imaginings, she must have sensed that in her sister. I sure hope Audrey and Virgil stayed in touch, if he did indeed exist. What a wonderful boy. And the scene at the end with the two bully boys made the book for me.

So, I'll compare this to one of the other titles from our list: The Underneath. Both portray evil selfishness, but Little Audrey includes the nuances of humanity, an element in my definition of distinguished literature for children.

Jen said...

While I didn't care for the misspelled words either (too over-the-top for me) I did find this title to be an breathtakingly honest story that was a quick, if somewhat harrowing, read. It may have been the family picture in the front that made me feel this way, but I got the feeling as I read it that simply writing this book was like therapy for the author. It

art4jewel said...

WOW! I surprisingly loved this book. I wasn't sure what to expect at first but the story carried me through to the end. I found myself feeling Audrey's emotions and for some reason I got very connected to several characters in the book. I even shed a few tears at the end. This was a GREAT read.

If I were a middle school english teacher I would definitely want to share this book with my students and have them read it. I could see students getting a lot out of this book.