Thursday, April 09, 2009

Morning in a Different Place; The Pike River Phantom

Fiona has a difficult family life. Her Irish-American father gets drunk and beats her mother, so the family has just moved in with an aunt. Yolanda, who was hospitalized after a drug deal of Fiona's brother's gone wrong, also has problems-- her mother wants to move her from New York City to the south. Fiona is white. Yolanda is black. It is 1963.

Mary Ann McGuigan's Morning in a Different Place was intriguing but didn't quite do it for me. I knew that sooner or later, Kennedy would get shot. Students would not have this problem. The sense of time seemed not quite right to me. Racism would have made the girls' relationship much more tense. While it was great that Fiona eventually spoke against her father and forced him to leave the house instead of her mother, it wasn't believable to me given the time setting. This was well-written, and had it been set in a modern time, I would have liked it a lot.

Betty Ren Wright's The Pike River Phantom(1988) is out of print. Dust it off for fans of ghost stories if you have one. Charlie is living with his grandparents because of his father's recent incarceration. His cousin Rachel is there because her parents are missionaries. The two are selling candy bars so that Rachel can win the local Sunbonnet Queen pageant, and Charlie comes across the evil ghost of a woman who unfairly lost this same title to his grandmother years before. Like other Wright titles, the ghost is not explained, just taken as a certainty. The realistic problems in this are balanced well with the supernatural ones, and it is a quick read.


Deanna H. said...

Love your reviews!

I gave you an award on my blog.

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