How High the Moon; Sandra Kring
It's 1955 in Milltown, Wisconsin, where ten year old Isabella "Teaspoon" Marlene lives. She is a sweet but outspoken little girl, who misses her mother and wonders when she will be coming home. Teaspoon's mother left her with her boyfriend Teddy, telling her that she had "dreams to chase", and she then took off for a career in Hollywood.
Teddy is man who cares deeply for Teaspoon. Teaspoon tells people, "Teddy is the boyfriend Ma left me with", but "Teddy is as good as Jesus". Poor Teddy has his work cut out for him. He learns that Teaspoon has let her school work slide, and that she might not get promoted to the sixth grade. She also starts getting into fights, so something has to change. She reluctantly joins a group called The Sunshine Sisters, a mentoring program, aimed at changing the direction in life of wayward children. Her role models to date have been the Taxi Stand ladies who stand on the corner by the drug store, wear too much makeup and perfume and dress in skimpy, flashy clothing. To make matters worst they have taken a liking to Teaspoon.
Her Sunshine Sister experience pairs Teaspoon up with Brenda Bloom, and an unlikely bond is formed. A summer performance at the Starlight Theater Group, where Teaspoon gets to sing, has made a positive impact on her. She even hires the Taxi Stand ladies to do the makeup of those performing. Now she dreams about a possible singing career in her future.
MY THOUGHTS - There is so much more I could say about this wonderful story, but I don't want to give away too much detail. However, if you love coming of age stories set in small town America, with characters you will grow to love and care about, then this book will appeal to you. Not only for baby boomers like me, but people of all ages will fall in love with the memorable Teaspoon, the precocious narrator, of this beautifully written, bittersweet story. There are also other sweet characters (not mentioned in this review) that will hold your interest as well. This is one novel that I was sad to see end.
I have read every novel that Sandra Kring has written, and she has become one of my favorite writers. If you have not tried this author ---you must. There are other wonderful coming of age stories by Kring as well. Most take place in the 1950's-60's, The Book of Bright Ideas; Carry Me Home; and Thank You for All Things. I highly recommend this author, and look forward to her next novel, which I am hoping will be a sequel to my favorite: The Book of Bright Ideas.
RATING - (5/5 stars) - (Review Copy)