Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Pink Thunderbird

Title: Nora, Nora
Author: Anne Rivers Siddons

Another great "read" while driving to and from work. My local public library has a ton of books on cassette but fewer books on CD, so I kind of just browse the shelves and pull off what's available that sounds remotely interesting.

This one turned out to be a good choice with an entertaining cast of characters.

There's the main character, Peyton McKenzie, a 12 year old girl who grows up believing she has killed her mother. Early on she changes her name from Priscilla to Peyton because the kids at school call her "Prilla, Prilla, mother killa" (kids can be so cruel). Her older brother died when she was five, which leaves Peyton and Peyton's rather distant father, Frazier.

They also have a black maid, Chloe, who Siddons alternately calls Clotilde in a rather irritating manner. In one sentence, she is Chloe, in the next, Clotilde. It would be one thing if the characters called her Chloe and Clotilde, but it's quite another when it is in the non-dialogue part of the book. Either that or there really were two characters and I just missed something.

And Aunt Augusta, a bossy, haughty individual who would just love to run Peyton's life.

Then there's the "loser's club" which provides quite a bit of entertainment as its members, Peyton, Ernie, and Boot, vie for the position of biggest loser. They share stories in which they were ridiculed, behaved idiotically, and so on. The twist is that Peyton is 12, Boot is 8, and Ernie is... 34. I'll let you decide who is the biggest loser....

And of course, there's the wacky old grandmother who dabbles in herbs, talismans, and various other forms of superstituous behavior. She foretells Nora's coming in a bowl of tomato soup.

Nora is Peyton's approximately 30 year old cousin. For many, she oozes charisma but she also scandalizes the small town of Lytton, Georgia. In the early 1960s, she is a strong proponent of desegregation and teaches a co-race high school English class featuring such dirty books as To Kill a Mockingbird and The Tropic of Cancer. She also swears, smoke, dances, and flirts with abandon. And drives a pink Thunderbird.

She also has a dark secret, but you'll have to read the book to find out what it is.

posted by Kate at 5:41 PM


Blogger reyn said...

PLEASE say she was born a man.

8/31/2006 7:12 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

I was really pulling for that, too. Disappointingly enough, no. Guess again! :D

Other books have used the "born a man" thing as the dark secret, though.

8/31/2006 7:49 AM  

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