Maira's Books

In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere (2012)

Touching story of Eastern Tennessee in the 1950's, read by the author in what I assume is an authentic accent. The main character Ivorie tells of going to see Gone With the Wind and is so disgusted with Vivian Leigh's terrible southern accent, that she doesn't ever go see another movie. I love the colorful metaphors in Southern speech: "His stomach rolled over his belt like a sack of cornmeal; I was as comfortable with him as a frog is in a bottle; time feels as long as a mountain's shadow; his heart leaps like a horse let our of its stall." I remember hearing some interesting expressions while living in Southeastern Ohio, but this book was just full of this rich language.

Ivorie is an old maid - the youngest and only daughter in a country family, who stays behind to take care of her parents until they pass away, and now that she is 30, she is alone. Everyone has just about given up pairing her up with someone. She does get somewhat of a beau in George during the story, but what is more important, someone starts stealing food from her garden. She finds that it is a scrawny, silent boy from the hills on the other side of the train tracks and creek.

The boy lives up in the hills with the man, who beats him and doesn't feed him, and his world is bleak except for memories of his mother, who passed away some time ago. Hunger forces him down from the hills into the valley, where he finds Ivorie's garden. When she discovers him, she starts feeding him, but can't get him to talk, at some time realizing he has a cleft palette.

The story is told alternately from Ivorie's and the boy's point of view, later from Ivorie's brother Henry's. He owns the local store and is a focal point in the town. The close sense of family and community was depicted strongly in this small town. I loved the Ivorie character, as she was a woman of gumption for those times. I liked her filling her time with work and canning and cooking in the beginning, giving it away to all those around her. You could see she had a lot of love to give, and luckily, she found someone to give it to.

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