Thank you to someone in the Lost and Found who helped me remember this book, and I snatched it up at my library (which has an awesome “young teen” section, btw) Also, mary Dowmng Hahn is quite the kickass author. Because she is able to really depicts young people’s problems and stuff without being condesding.
Anyhoo, Kathleen, who is twelve, family has four girls, and she is the oldest. Her father just lost his job, so they have to sell their house and move in with her aunt and uncle on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. They have to deal with their bitchy fourteen-year-old cousin Fay nd deal with her parents fughting and stuff. Kathleen is awkward and bookish, Patsy is ten and a smart-ass, Mo is the kid and Rosie is the baby. Fay is also secretly dating a twenty-year old sailor named Joe, who they all grow a little bit attached to.
Fay may be the meanest, most obnoxious character I have ever read. maybe even worse than Jessica. Is that possible? She is so obnoxious and immature, and dresses to show off her big boobs. Joe thinks she is 18, and I am not sure how she convinces him. The ironic thing to me is that Kathleen is very self-concious of her tall, thin, bony frame, and is envious of Fay’s “plump” figure. In fact, Fay is mentioned as being “pudgy” often. Maybe it is because of the times? You would think now that being rail thin is what girls want to be. I don’t think you hear so much about girls being mad because they are flat-chested, it’s more that girls are mad because their hipbones are not jutting out above their jeans. it’s all perspective, I guess.
They all hang out at the beach a lot, because Fay is forced to take them, and thay all become attached to Joe. Kathleen is secretly jealous of when Fay makes out with him, and Jow tries to make her feel better by telling her that she really is a pretty girl. If Joe wasn’t dating a 14 year old, he is actually not much of a creep. Finally, Patsy tells Joe Fay’s secret and Fay’s parents find out, and they have a shit fit and Joe makes himself scarce, which is probably a good idea. Fay is distraught and enlists Kathleen into helping her sneak out to see him at a bar, and they are found by the police and get in trouble again. Fay and kathleen start to get a long a little bit. Kathleeon’s father takes a job working for their uncle, and they nd up finding a house nearby. Also, Kathleen’s mother is pregnant and her father starts drinking a lot. But, things seem t look up a little bit in the end.
You know, it is so HARD to snark on ome of these books, becuase this was seriously a good one and one of my favorites when I first read it. I actually got emotional from it and I wish there was a sequel because I wanted to know if everything turned out okay and what happened to Kathleen!
I tink it shows good writing in children’s literature (and other literature for that matter) to not have these forced intoductions and character intros (they were identical in looks, right down to their matching lavelieres. But that is where the similarites ended….) but to give you a sense if a character through their actions and dialogue.
Ah, I love reading books from my past that give me the warm fuzzies and not fits of rage….