Archive for the ‘Coming-of-Age’ Category

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES by Sue Monk Kidd

Fourteen year-old Lily Melissa Owens has been a motherless child for ten years now. It fills her with anguish to think that she, at age four, had a hand in the accidental shooting death of Deborah Fontanel Owens, her own mother. Lily’s life has been shaped around this incident, and she has never ceased to yearn for her mother, (for a mother’s love), although her memories of the actual woman have been blurred by time. In fact, Lily has very little memory of that dark day’s events, and is totally dependent on her miserable, sadistic father, T. Ray Owens, for any and all accounts of her mom. The only person who shows her any affection is Rosaleen, a black peach-picker T. Ray brought in from the fields to care for his child.

January 20, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Theme driven, US South

ALL THE LIGHT THERE WAS by Nancy Kricorian

The setting is World War II Paris — when the Germans begin their occupation of the city, the protagonist of this story is just turning sixteen. Maral Pegorian and her older brother, Missak, are part of an Armenian family displaced to France after the Armenian genocide. They are stateless refugees and have made the suburb of Belleville in Paris, their home. Maral’s father is a cobbler and owns a small shoe shop hoping to one day pass on his skills to his son.

January 7, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Facing History, France, Reading Guide

WE NEED NEW NAMES by NoViolet Bulawayo

NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel, WE NEED NEW NAMES, is the story of Darling, a young Zimbabwean girl living in a shantytown called Paradise. She is feisty ten-year old, an astute observer of her surroundings and the people in her life. Bulawayo structures her novel more like a series of linked stories, written in episodic chapters, told loosely chronologically than in one integrated whole. In fact, the short story “Hitting Budapest,” that became in some form an important chapter in this “novel,” won the prestigious 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing.

In addition to Darling, the stories introduce her gang of close friends. They are vividly and realistically drawn and we can easily imagine them as they roam free in their neighbourhood and also secretly walk into “Budapest,” a near-by district of the well-off…

January 5, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Africa, Coming-of-Age, Man Booker Nominee, Short Stories, US Midwest, World Lit

THE CAT’S TABLE by Michael Ondaatje

In his new novel, THE CAT’S TABLE, Michael Ondaatje imagines a young boy’s three-week sea voyage across the oceans, from his home in Colombo, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) to England. The eleven-year-old travels alone and is, not surprisingly, allocated to the “lowly” Cat’s Table, where he joins an odd assortment of adults and two other boys of similar age.

October 7, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Facing History, Literary

CHILD WONDER by Roy Jacobsen

Navigating that shaky bridge between childhood and adulthood is never easy, particularly in 1961 – a time when “men became boys and housewives women,” a year when Yuri Gargarin is poised to conquer space and when the world is on the cusp of change.

Into this moment of time, Norwegian author Roy Jacobsen shines a laser light on young Finn and his mother Gerd, who live in the projects of Oslo. Fate has not been kind to them: Gerd’s husband, a crane operator, divorced her and then died in an accident, leaving the family in a financially precarious position. To make ends meet, she works in a shoe store and runs an ad for a lodger for extra money.

September 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Coming-of-Age, Facing History, Family Matters, Norway, Translated, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

WE THE ANIMALS by Justin Torres

WE THE ANIMALS in this wonderful debut novel refers to three brothers, close in age, growing up in upstate New York. They are the Three Musketeers bound strongly together not just because of geographical isolation but because of cultural separateness too. The brothers are born to a white mother and a Puerto Rican father—they are half-breeds confused about their identity and constrained by desperate and mind-numbing poverty.

September 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Family Matters, Latin American/Caribbean, NE & New York