This Is Graceanne's Book

A Novel

P. L. Whitney

St. Martin's Griffin

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The story is told by a nine-year old boy, Charlie, who observes with an encompassing awe a pivotal year in the life of his older sister Graceanne. She's loud, intellectual and a ruthless physical and psychological daredevil, a girl whose ferocious exploits are the stuff of local legend and the stuff of all that Charlie aspires to be. He narrates Graceanne's painful passage into teenage, a passage made tempestuous by their violent mother.

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Reviews

Praise for This Is Graceanne's Book

"Much can be learned about life and growing up from Graceanne's book."--Library Journal

"Growing up is always hard, but even more so for Whitney's young protagonists who live in the tumultuous 1960s, on the wrong side of the tracks, with an abusive mother. Charlie, a quiet, club-footed, nine-year-old boy, narrates this story of his creative, smart, and wild older sister, Graceanne. He watches her become a teenager through beatings and other punishment and shares her innermost ideas and pain by reading her diary. After their mother confiscates the diary, he continues to keep her stories in his head. Graceanne incurs their mother's wrath for a number of reasons--the friendship of their next door neighbor (a black girl named Wanda), ice sculptures of a mixed-race baby Jesus, baseball games, and a college boyfriend named Collier--and yet, grows up a survivor. It is the unbreakable spirit of both Charlie and Graceanne that keeps this story afloat. While hurting along with them through the abuse, readers will cheer for them as they struggle to grow up."--Ellie Barta-Moran, Booklist

"[A] wonderful novel . . . Between one Independence Day and the next, as in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, on Huck Finn's Mississippi, in John Kennedy's Camelot, looked down upon by heavenly astronomers, two children must save each other from an alcoholic father (the Combat Soldier), an abusive mother (the Queen of Egypt), the Ugly Blue Man, the Black Santa, degrading poverty and violent shame. Although just thirteen herself, Graceanne will protect her younger brother, Charlemagne, from the terrifying and arbitrary power of adults--with poetry and magic, kingfisher stories and Elvis records, ice babies and cornstalk silk, scarecrows and arrowheads, Catechism of the Mackerel and the Miracle of Our Lady of Fort McBain. In the book of wonders Graceanne braids out of their childhood games, Charlie learns to swim, not only in the swollen river, but all the way to Mars. This wonderful novel belongs on the shelf and in the heart next to Toni Morrison's Sula, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, and David Grossman's The Book of Intimate Grammar."--John Leonard, critic for New York Magazine and CBS Sunday Morning

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About the Author

P. L. Whitney

P.L. Whitney lives in New Jersey.

P. L. Whitney

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Available Formats and Book Details

This Is Graceanne's Book
A Novel
P. L. Whitney

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
August 2001
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312272784
ISBN10: 0312272782
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 304 pages
$18.99
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