This week's book (#25) is Stop That Girl, by Elizabeth McKenzie. A "novel in stories" about a girl growing up in southern California, McKenzie's book seemed the perfect companion for a California "girl" on a holiday weekend trip to Palm Springs. I was not disappointed.
It was just funny, and familiar, and touching. Familiar not only because of the Long Beach bungalows, or the matilija poppies, or Hope Ranch, but also familiar because our girl Ann Ransom's interactions with her family ring true, whether you've lived through them or not.
"The girls have been very moved by the plight of the American Indian," Mom threw in.
"We have?" I said.
"Your favorite book is Island of the Blue Dolphins," Mom said.
"Are you kidding?" I said. "Not for a long time. My favorite book is Das Kapital."
"That's right, I keep forgetting you're an intellectual now."
"My favorite book is Little House on the Prairie," said Kathy. [shout out!]
"I also greatly relish the works of Kafka and Dostoevsky," I added.
"As well you should," Angus Frey said.
"All right, girls, say good night," Mom said.
By the way, what is it with me and "coming of age" books lately? I've got a couple more on my nightstand right now. Delayed maturation? Juvenile tendencies?
But back to the topic at hand. I think I am being misleading. While it is a book of stories about a girl growing up in California, it is also a book of stories about family relationships, and personal growth, featuring a funny, smart protagonist. I didn't mean to pigeonhole it so narrowly. Suffice it to say I enjoyed McKenzie's novel quite a bit. If my friends who enjoy this sort of book weren't reading this blog right now, I'd give it to them for their birthdays.